“Deciding when to give priority to a bus when leaving a stop is a problem for many novice drivers who cannot evaluate the situation, while some students in driving schools do not pass the final exam due to not giving priority,” says Pavel Greiner from the King Driving School ( Prague, České Budějovice).
However, novice drivers are not the only ones who have a problem with the priority of buses leaving the stop, while the bus drivers themselves must also look into their conscience, who should know right from the start that absolute priority does not apply to them, except for one specific case. But let’s start with what the law says:
Act No. 361/2000 Coll. §25, paragraph 6) clearly defines for us:
“Drivers of public transport buses or trolleybuses must allow drivers of other vehicles in the village to exit the stop or stop lane, by reducing the driving speed, or by stopping the vehicle; At the same time, the driver of a bus or trolleybus must not endanger, in particular, the drivers of vehicles traveling in the same direction.”
Simply put, this means that every driver is required in the village to let a departing bus leave the stop, regardless of its size, category (M2, M3) or occupancy of the given bus.
However, how to determine that the bus in the village is already leaving? If we see that the door of the bus is still open and people are migrating, we can estimate that the driver has not yet driven off, so we can drive around the vehicle with extra caution and ideally with our foot on the brake, because what if someone runs into your path in front of the bus , right?
However, when the bus driver closes the door, we can already count on the fact that he will throw away the turn signal and want to leave the stop, so we can prepare to give him priority.
However, the law says that the bus driver must not endanger other passengers when leaving the bus stop, however, the legal definition of endangering is as clear as the manual for a Japanese video, which is why Pavel Greiner has such a tool for you.
“If we and our vehicle are already about half the length of the bus we are passing, and at this moment its driver starts to turn left, then he must not endanger us by suddenly pulling out of the stop, as we cannot stop the vehicle for a few meters. In popular terms, they mustn’t send it to jerks and hold others back,” Greiner explains the situation.
“In other words, and now take me a bit with an exaggeration, if in the context of an accident between a car and a bus, when leaving the stop, a car is driven into the bus in the front half of the bus, it was usually the bus driver’s fault that he left the stop in an irresponsible manner, so the driver of the car did not have chance to stop. On the contrary, if the car fits into the bus in the back half of the bus, it is the fault of the driver who did not give way to the departing bus. But it’s really just a folk aid, not a court precedent,” adds Greiner.
Clearly stated exceptions
However, there are situations when a bus or trolleybus in the village stops at a stop without a boarding island or without a platform on an elevated tram strip. However, then the driver of another vehicle must even stop and wait for the passenger to get out and board. However, as soon as the bus door is closed and the exit/boarding is complete, the car driver can continue.
Be very careful of buses legally marked as transporting children, which is the specific case mentioned in the introduction. The law in such a case clearly states that behind a bus with this specific designation, which stopped at the marked stop (also applies outside the municipality), the driver of another vehicle must stop the vehicle. He can continue driving only after the bus in question has left the stop.
“In practice, this does not happen at all, and drivers do not take into account the risk of a child running into the road. After all, they are children and no matter how many times they push, overtake and the like, they don’t care about traffic at that moment,” warns an experienced driving school instructor.
How is it outside the village?
Outside the municipality, the bus does not have priority when leaving the bus stop, which is understandable, as other cars travel at around 90 km/h, so their drivers would not be able to stop from the spot.
Outside the municipality, it is a challenge and an appeal, especially to the common sense of bus drivers, to really wait until they have a clear road behind them. Distance/speed is misjudged in the rear-view mirror, especially for long vehicles, and a gross error by the bus driver can cause an accident with fatal consequences.
On the other hand, you have to take into account that not everyone knows the rules of the road, so you have to take into account that the driver of the car in front of you can let the flashing bus go outside the village when leaving the stop, i.e. suddenly reduce the speed of his vehicle or stop the vehicle. So be careful not to look in the trunk of such a car.
We hope that the bus priority rules when leaving the bus stop are now clearer to you, and we especially appeal for increased attention to buses with signs for transporting children. However, the card has both sides, so bus drivers should also think about whether it is sometimes better to calmly wait for priority than to force it and risk a much bigger problem.