Surprisingly, big buses can use carpool lanes

 In blog, Crime News: Los Angeles Daily News

Surprisingly, big buses can use carpool lanes

by Jim Radcliffe

Q. Honk: I ride a motorcycle to work for the night shift, so when I am commuting there is very light traffic. For a few years now, I have seen tour, commuter and other buses in the carpool lanes. Nothing worse than going along nicely and then catching up to a bus going slower than vehicles in the No. 1 and even the No. 2 lane. I can understand them using the carpool lanes in peak hours. So when did buses get the OK to travel in the carpool lane, and why do they think it’s OK to use the lane and hold up traffic?

– Allan Horn, Santa Clarita

A.  I know it seems odd to see some behemoth bus cruising along in the carpool lane – but it is legal.

“Buses are equivalent to cars,” said Rodrigo Jimenez, a California Highway Patrol officer and spokesman based in Baldwin Park. “Buses are not included in the restrictions.”

It can be tough to figure out the motive state legislators had years ago when creating this law, but Honk figures they reasoned that buses move a lot of people and should be able to jump into carpool lanes to skirt congestion.

Under California law, for other vehicle types it comes down to axles – vehicles with less than three can use all lanes, including the carpool lane, on the freeway.

But those with three or more can’t use the No. 1 or carpool lane.

(Most buses, by the way, only have two axles, even if looking from the side you might think they have three.)

Cars, trucks and RVs towing a trailer have a combined three axles and can’t go in those lanes. Nor can a big rig pulling a trailer, of course.

Now, is it prudent for a lagging bus to get out of the carpool lane and let those it is blocking run somewhat free?


But if it is doing the speed limit, it doesn’t have to.

Q. How are roadway suffixes determined when streets are named? For example: road, boulevard, street, parkway or avenue.

– Curtis Dinsmore, Placentia

A. In your town, an informal committee of the public works director, the police chief, the city administrator and a council member mull over the recommendations from city staffers or developers.

“When it comes to the suffix, however, it’s usually left to the discretion of whoever is proposing the street names – sometimes lane works better with a particular name than say way or place or road,” Luis Estevez, your town’s public works director, told Honk in an email.

“When it comes to busy arterial roads, the typical suffix is avenue or boulevard, denoting the busy nature of those streets,” he said.

“South Orange County is fond of the parkway suffix for many of (its) arterial roads. Circle is the universal suffix for cul-de-sacs.

“The last streets Placentia named were Veterans Way and Lakeview Loop,” Estevez said.

“Veterans Way got its name because that is where the new Veterans Village permanent supportive-housing project for homeless veterans is currently under construction – 1945 Veterans Way to be exact. Way was used as the suffix as pointing the way for our veterans to seek help.

“Lakeview Loop got its name because, well, it loops around Lakeview Avenue!”

Honkin’ fact No. 1: The California Highway Patrol was born 90 years ago this past Wednesday, Aug. 14.

Honkin’ fact No. 2: Famous people will now greet travelers at Los Angeles International Airport with recorded messages over terminal loudspeakers. The first group includes Dodger Justin Turner and comedian Jimmy Kimmel, whose greeting will make you smile, if not chuckle out loud: “Hi, I’m Jimmy Kimmel – welcome to LAX. We apologize for the construction, but you’ll forget all about it once you get on the 405. … If you need anything at all, call Matt Damon – he has no friends.”

To ask Honk questions, reach him at He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online:

All credit goes to Jim Radcliffe
Originally published on

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