I am a bus driver for one of our local Yeshivas and would like to warn Crown Heights residents about a dangerous situation that takes place in our neighborhood on a daily basis.
Last week, I was stopped on Crown Street between Kingston and Brooklyn to pick up a 5-year-old child.
As usual, I stopped my bus on a diagonal, to try and block part of the street. Unfortunately, many drivers drive past my bus even while my lights are on and the stop sign is out.
The 5-year-old child stepped off the curb. As he was walking towards the bus, he was hit by a bicyclist and was knocked to the ground.
The child was seriously injured, suffering several broken bones and other injuries.
I have been driving in the neighborhood for quite a few years, and I must warn parents about the dangers their children face every day. This was the second accident that occurred this month on my route, and I would like to point out a few safety measures every parent should take.
1. Drivers should not drive around a bus
When the stop sign is out, do not try and drive around the bus on any side. I cannot tell you how many people disobey the lights and simply continue driving. It is sakonas nefoshos! These are our children. How do you take the responsibility to do something so dangerous? It is literally a “Ch’shash of Shfichas domim.”
2. Accompany your child to the bus
A child is very short, and as in the case of this accident, the cyclist could not see the child, especially if they are coming onto the street from between parked cars. If a parent is with the child, it is more likely that a passing car or cyclist will see them.
3. Wait for the bus to stop
Parents and children should always wait until the bus has come to a complete stop before stepping off the curb into the street. If a child does not learn this at a young age, there is the risk that they will run into the street while the bus is still moving, and could chas V’sholom get run over by the bus.
Unfortunately, if you ask any bus driver in the neighborhood, they will tell you that most of the drivers who risk passing buses, are Jewish.
I don’t think they are doing it maliciously, I believe they are just ignorant of the dangers. It is so important that everyone become educated on bus safety measures, for the safety of all.