A brush with the bus
Driving a RFTA bus around Aspen takes a certain kind of masochist, but this time of year it must be maddening. Oblivious tourists are forever stepping off the curb in front of you. Entitled locals curse you when you’re late. And the weather, well, it never cooperates.
But I’d like to add on to a complaint raised recently by Aspen Times Editor Dave Krause. Seems he didn’t appreciate friends of Roaring Fork Transportation Authority drivers jawing at them while they attempt to pilot the large machines safely down the road. It’s a fair point.
However, my issue is less a complaint than a baffling observation stemming from hundreds of rides home on the Hunter Creek bus. Specifically, it has to do with the intersection of Main and Mill streets, and people turning left from Mill on to Main.
Frequently, these people will decide to turn directly in front of the path of the bus. It’s like clockwork it happens so often. Earlier this week, my fellow 5 p.m. bus riders braced ourselves as the driver was forced to slam on his brakes when a black Range Rover not only darted in front of the bus, but then stopped in the middle of the intersection because pedestrians crossing Main Street thwarted his or her ill-advised, New York City-style traffic attitude.
Fortunately, Aspen’s RFTA drivers are well-versed in this sort of behavior and tragedy was narrowly averted, though with just inches to spare.
Usually the near-misses are less dramatic. But they happen all the time at Main and Mill and I can’t figure it out. What is it about an oncoming bus that makes people think, “Yeah, I’m gonna go for it!” and hit the gas? It’s truly bizarre.
Because here’s the thing: getting hit by a bus is gonna suck. For you. For the bus driver. For everyone on the bus. But mainly you. No matter if it’s doing 5 mph or 55 mph, you’re gonna lose that battle every time.
So a word to the wise: Next time you think about trying to beat the bus coming down Mill Street by making that left turn, take a deep breath, think about someone who cares about you and wait a second.
Think of it as a Christmas gift to our RFTA driver friends.
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Kevin Warner started his career with the U.S. Forest Service as a wilderness ranger in 2001. Now he’s taking over the key position as Aspen-Sopris District Ranger.