Danger zone bus stop

Every driver's nightmare: a pedestrian - adult or child - runs in front of the car. This danger is particularly high around bus stops, as the bus often blocks the view and people crossing the road are not seen in time. The EAC member KRAFTFAHRER-SCHUTZ e.V. (KS) provides information on how pedestrians and drivers should behave correctly here.

Just at the beginning of the year a terrible accident occurred in South Tyrol when a drunk driver ran into a group of people who had just got off a bus. Even though driving at excessive speed and under the influence of alcohol played a role here: bus stops are always a special danger zone. "In these areas, both pedestrians and drivers should be particularly careful," say the safety experts at KRAFTFAHRER-SCHUTZ e.V. (KS). According to the automobile club, there are three sources of danger here: firstly, the area behind the bus from where pedestrians enter the roadway, which is not visible to the driver; secondly, the inattentiveness of pedestrians crossing the road from or in the direction of the bus; and thirdly, motorists who are not alert enough in this area and overtake the stopping bus without permission or too quickly.

More attention

For example, a bus that stops at the side of the road or in a parking bay or bus stop will, due to its size, prevent the area behind it from being seen by a car driver. But here, it is always to be expected that the passengers that just got out of the bus cross the street in front of the bus, while others cross the street towards the bus in order to get into the bus. "As we all know, as pedestrians we are not always as attentive as we should be: We are pressed for time, we don't want to miss the bus, we are distracted by our cell phones etc. However, (school) children who travel by school bus or public service bus and are often simply distracted or have not yet developed the necessary traffic skills are particularly at risk here," say the KS experts. For this reason, drivers should also pay more attention here.

Correct behaviour at bus stops

In order to defuse the dangerous situation at bus stops, pedestrians as well as car or motorcycle drivers can take some points to heart: For pedestrians, it makes sense to let the bus drive away first. This gives them a better overview of the traffic situation before they enter the roadway. As always, the principle of looking left - right - left before entering a roadway applies. "In heavy traffic, it can also be helpful to draw attention to the intention to cross the road with a hand signal (such as an outstretched arm)," says KS.

However, drivers must also observe some rules that the legislator has created for bus stops in regular and school bus traffic (§ 20 StVO): If buses stop at a bus stop, you may only drive past the bus carefully in both directions. When passengers get on or off the bus, the bus may only be driven past on the right-hand side at walking speed and only at such a distance that passengers are not endangered. They must also not be obstructed. If necessary, whoever is driving a vehicle must wait.

Even more attention is required if the bus is driving with hazard warning lights: If a bus with hazard warning lights on approaches a bus stop, it must not be overtaken. This is especially intended to protect children who want to reach the bus on time and may run across the road without paying attention to the traffic. If the bus is at the bus stop and the hazard warning lights are also switched on, the bus may only be driven past at walking speed and only at such a distance that there is no danger to passengers. The walking speed also applies to oncoming traffic on the same lane. Here again, passengers must not be obstructed, and the vehicle may have to wait.


Source: KS press release of 12 February 2020, available in EAC news, translated by Florian Schmitz, EAC.