Letter to the Capital District Transportation Authority

Today I emailed the note below to the CDTA.  Also gave the CDTA a one star Yelp review.  I was surprised to find that no one had reviewed the CDTA.  Maybe you should, good or bad.

Good afternoon. I’ve lived in Albany for 10 years and have enjoyed riding CDTA busses all along. Good work! Thank you much. Thanks especially for adding bike racks to the busses. Very helpful.

I am often unhappy, though, when I am not a passenger. I ride bicycles for transportation. I have for 35 years. I am well versed in the laws surrounding my rights and responsibilities as a cyclist. I follow the laws, too! Some of your drivers do not. CDTA drivers frequently pass me as I bicycle leaving less than three feet of space. Very dangerous and illegal. See NY Vehicle and Traffic. Title 25. Section 1122-a.

1122-a. Overtaking a bicycle. The operator of a vehicle overtaking,
from behind, a bicycle proceeding on the same side of a roadway shall
pass to the left of such bicycle at a safe distance until safely clear

You need to read the legislative history to learn that three feet is the minimum safe distance. The legislature didn’t want to write three feet into the law because in some cases three feet is not enough to be safe. The legislative history is here.

The close passes need to stop. A person is eventually going to be seriously injured or killed by a CDTA bus in just this context.

I am often bicycling on Western Ave. It is rare that I pedal a mile on Western without a bus passing me in the same lane I occupy leaving less than the three feet of safe space as required by state law. Some operators do it correctly, leaving the lane to safely pass and not returning to the lane I am in until they have cleared me. Other drivers seem to think they can share the lane I am even if less than three feet of space remain. How do I know? My reach is 30″ and I can often touch the bus.  Today it was the number 11, bus number 3030, traveling west on Western at 2:26 pm. As they passed I reached out and touched the bus. Way too close!


I have called CDTA to express concern a couple of times over the years. Once a manager came to my home to acknowledge my concern and promise it would stop. It has not stopped.

Drivers need to be made aware of the law and follow it. Drivers who do not must face consequences.

Please let me know what you will do to end this dangerous and illegal practice.

Thank you.

So tired of it!  I’ll let you know what I hear.


8 responses to “Letter to the Capital District Transportation Authority

  1. Once, climbing Washington Ave approaching Lark St, a CDTA bus behind me honked at me. CDTA’s response was that the driver was just saying “hi.”

    • Thanks for writing. I’ve been honked at too! Like in your case, there was a second lane for them to pass but I guess they didn’t want or care to. Or they were saying hi. Hope you are and stay well.

  2. I love this post, but worry about you!!!


  3. It seems pretty clear to me that the generally bad attitudes among bus drivers towards cyclists derive largely from FEAR. The little homunculus inside his head is telling him that if more people become cyclists, demand for bus drivers will diminish. This fear drives an intrinsic enmity and a barely subconscious agenda to diminish their numbers in the interest of increasing bus demand. (This same pitiful motive manifests in the nearly universal enmity that taxi drivers have for cyclists.)

    Guilty drivers: I challenge you to consider how absolutely cowardly it is to bully someone on a bicycle with your enormous rolling WMD. Next time some overwhelming force asserts itself on your own life in an unrighteous, dangerous and threatening manner, remember how you’ve been treating innocent others….

    In any case, these bus drivers will — before they know it — be replaced by robots, so they’re really fearing the wrong threat. (Stupid homunculus!)

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