CHOKEPOINTS

State law allows passing of school buses in parking lots

Feb 18, 2020, 5:48 AM
bus, vaccine mandate...
(AP file photo)
(AP file photo)

It’s time to talk school buses and safety again.

To turn or not to turn in front of a school bus

Trooper Rick Johnson hit me up last week asking me about school bus rules when buses are stopped in parking lots. He was confused as to whether he could pass the bus or maneuver around it when dropping off kids in parking lots.

I wasn’t aware that some schools do drop off kids in business parks or other places. The buses Rick was asking about were from the Chief Leschi School District in Puyallup. The district said it drops off kids in generic business lots occasionally, on late routes or after some sports practices.

According to state law, when buses are stopped in parking lots or what is called “off the roadway,” buses can only use four way flashers when they stop. The Leschi School District confirmed that in its reading of the law as well.

“The bus cannot legally stop any traffic while in a parking lot,” according to the district’s transportation director.

So to answer Rick’s question, it sounds like drivers can pass school buses when they have four way flashers on while in parking lots. That said, if there are kids around, you better be very careful. Be sure to check the conditions closely before passing.

The basic rules for passing school buses are really simple, but there is one situation that continues to generate confusion. We all know that we cannot pass a bus with its flashers on when we are going the same direction. We certainly cannot pass on the right. We all know that we must stop, even in the opposite direction, when facing a bus with its flashers on at an intersection. If there is a median or a physical barrier, you do not have to stop in the opposite direction.

But here is the situation that keeps confusing people: You do not have to stop in the opposite direction when you are on a road with three or more marked lanes, and that includes roads with two travel lanes separated by a turn lane.

For example, in my area, 35th Avenue Southeast in Everett, there is one lane going north and one lane going south with a turn lane in the middle. If a bus is stopped with its flashers on going north and I’m going south, I do not have to stop. A lot of drivers stop unnecessarily in this situation.

The bottom line is always be careful, watch your speed, and use common sense.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

Chokepoints

WSDOT...
Chris Sullivan

WSDOT accounts for 21% of state employees fired over vaccine mandate

Of 1,887 state employees that lost their jobs over the vaccine mandate, the largest group was from the Washington State Department of Transportation.
2 days ago
Maple Valley Highway...
Chris Sullivan

King County crews find mystery structure under Maple Valley Highway

You never know what you'll find when you dig in this corner of the country. Road crews found that out this weekend when fixing a culvert under Highway 169.
2 days ago
Climate Pledge Arena...
Chris Sullivan

Getting to Climate Pledge Arena 101: Prepare to ditch the car

The old ways of getting to the arena in downtown Seattle have intentionally been made more difficult so that public transit is a more palatable option.
7 days ago
I-5, bumps...
Chris Sullivan

Why there are bumps along I-5 through downtown Seattle (and when they’ll go away)

When KIRO Radio's Dave Ross asks you to update something for him, you do it. So what's with those annoying bumps on I-5 SB out of downtown Seattle?
9 days ago
I-90, grooves...
Chris Sullivan

Why are portions of I-90 near Snoqualmie Pass so ‘groovy’?

Another question from Chris Sullivan's recent driving: What's with the horizontal grooves on portions of I-90, east of Snoqualmie Pass?
14 days ago
traffic, right lane...
Chris Sullivan

Chokepoint Challenge: Stay in the right lane to get through traffic faster

In Sully's first "Chokepoint Challenge," he wants you to test the theory that when traffic is backed up, you move faster in the right lane than the left.
16 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
State law allows passing of school buses in parking lots