Often we discuss the responsibility of private and commercial drivers to be safe and respect pedestrians crossing the roads or walking on the sidewalks. However, at times it is also important to stress how important it is for pedestrians to appreciate the danger that large vehicles like cars and buses inherently present. Based on speed and size difference, motor vehicles are immensely larger than pedestrians.
For instance, per calculations available by Rush, a 5′ 10″ person should be between 132 to 173 pounds. However, the average weight of a new car in 2010 is 4009 pounds, according to Slate. A bus, on the other hand, weighs up to 33,000 pounds, not including the weight of passengers, per a report by the American Public Transportation Association. This extreme difference in mass is inherently dangerous to a person, and is why we as pedestrians must be cautious around motor vehicles and buses, just as they need to be vigilant of us.
A prime example of this was reported in the Chicago Tribune. According to the article, a man was struck and killed by an eastbound 72 CTA bus in the Chicago neighborhood of Austin. He chased after it and banged on the side of it when he was unable to board in time. A witness, who watched the incident from across the street at a local fast food restaurant, reported that the man and his girlfriend went to the bus stop where the woman was able to get on the bus, but the doors closed before the man was able to board. It began to head east toward Pulaski Road, and the man chased the bus while hitting on the side of it, yelling to the bus driver to stop. The man then slipped and fell, and the bus ran him over.
The witness called 911, who rushed the man to Mount Sinai Hospital. At the time emergency responders arrived, he was not responsive. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital. The medical examiner stated that the cause of death was due to multiple injuries from the bus striking a pedestrian.
While this report does not make it clear whether the driver was aware of the man chasing the bus and hitting the windows or not, this is not the point at issue here. In no circumstance should anyone chase after such a large vehicle as a bus. As discussed above, a city bus is immensely larger than a person, and this danger ought to be realized. Not only is there an extreme difference in size between pedestrians and CTA buses, but combine this with the fact that Chicago winter weather more often than not leaves the outside wet, slippery, snowy, and icy, not appreciating the present danger can easily lead to falling.
If you ever find yourself in the inconvenient situation where some of your party has boarded a bus, but you are unable to get on with them, instead of chasing the bus, wait for the next one to arrive, and meet the rest of your party at the designated stop. While this may not be ideal, a minor inconvenience is always preferable to serious injury or death. At the same time, no matter how reckless or safe pedestrians are, drivers should also bear in mind the size and danger of their vehicles and be as cautious as possible.