Let Buses Go First—
or risk getting a traffic ticket

Yield to buses pulling out from the curb.

When a Metro, Sound Transit, or other transit bus driver signals that the bus is reentering the flow of traffic, other drivers must yield the right-of-way. The same goes for a streetcar or a Metro trolley bus. Many drivers do not seem to know this traffic regulation, or they choose to ignore it, but the penalty for not yielding is $124.

Consider this: a bus carries up to 80 or more passengers. If those passengers were riding in cars, there would be a lot more traffic and it would probably take much longer to get anywhere. By accommodating buses, we reduce congestion. When you think of it that way, a delay of a few seconds to let a bus go first doesn’t seem like such an imposition.

SDOT is working to reduce the number of bus stops that are configured for buses to move in and out of the flow traffic, but there will probably always be some “pull out” bus stops.  It is also a good idea to watch for buses making a right or left turn as they may need additional room to maneuver compared with a smaller vehicle.

Here’s the section of the Seattle Municipal Code pertaining to yielding to buses:

 SMC 11.58.275 Right-of-way of transit vehicles.

 A.      The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a transit vehicle traveling in the same direction that has signaled and is re-entering the traffic flow.

 B.      This section shall not operate to relieve the driver of a transit vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the street or alley.

 C.      For purposes of this section, “transit vehicle” means a motor vehicle, street car, train, or trolley which is owned or operated by a city, county, county transportation authority, a public benefit area, or the state, and which is used to carry passengers on a regular schedule. (RCW 46.04.355;69.50.435(5), (6)).