Bus passer gets his 1st ticket at 76

By: Frank Fellone
Published: Saturday, August 31, 2013

Dear Mahatma: I got a ticket for passing a school bus. I was at a four-way stop, headed south. The bus was headed west on the intersecting street and was stopped picking up kids. When I crossed through the intersection a policeman was waiting.

I’m 76 years old, and this is my first traffic ticket. Was I wrong?

  • Little Rock Phil

Dear Phil: Thank you for the opportunity to remind people to drive properly around school buses; sorry about the ticket.

First stop - no pun intended - was to the Arkansas Driver License Study Guide, published by the state police. The guide says in plain English what is said in the statutes, which are written in Lawyer Language.

“When approaching a school bus that is stopped and red warning lights on the bus are activated, all approaching vehicles are required to also stop,” the guide says, right there on page 22. “Regardless of where the driver may be in relation to the bus, whether it’s in the same lane of traffic, opposing lane or at an intersection, traffic must come to a complete stop until the school bus turns off the warning lights and begins to move.”

Readers who prefer Lawyer Language can read Arkansas Code Annotated27-51-1004.

What about multilane highways?

Arkansas Code Annotated 27-51-1005 says drivers don’t have to stop for a school bus in the opposite lane if there is a median of 20 feet or more in width.

Dear Mahatma: Cable-median barriers along Interstate 40 are being put very close to the roadway. It doesn’t appear to me they will be able to cut the grass between the barriers and the roadway. Please don’t tell me they will be using a weed killer. - C.D.

Dear C.D.: Thank you for asking the final question - we hope - about cable-median barriers. At least for a few weeks. We posed the question to the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department. A spokesman says the grass will be cut. He says there will be no use of herbicides.

Dear Mahatma: Your answer last week about whether bikes have to use a side path or trail when provided is, I believe, correct regarding state bike code. I don’t know of a North Little Rock ordinance requiring use of provided side lanes, but other cities do have such rules.

  • Girl with Cute Helmet

Dear Girl: We learn a lot by writing this column.

Plenty more to learn.

Thanks for sending along the Little Rock and Fayetteville ordinances, both of which say that when a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bike riders shall get thee to the path and stay off the roadway.

We asked Jason Carter, the city attorney of North Little Rock, if his town had such an ordinance, given that the original question had to do with a bike lane parallel to Military Drive.

No, he said. And that surprised him, given the city’s numerous bike trails and activities.



Arkansas, Pages 11 on 08/31/2013