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April 05, 2012

Richard Gubish, Jr. Bus Driver of the Year

Until today, Ralph Cramden was my favorite bus driver. But that has changed; now Mr. Richard Gubish, Jr., a bus driver in Bethlehem, PA, is my favorite bus driver -- and in fact, he's our nominee for American Bus Driver of the Year (2012). Check out this brief video:

According to the Bethlehem, PA Police Department's official blog (btw, how cool is that?)
On 02 April 2012 at approximately 3:06 p.m., expert cyclist Frank Pavlick was struck from behind while riding across the Fahy Bridge. Mr. Pavlick was hit by a seventeen year old juvenile who was attempting to pass a LANTA bus. Immediately following the impact, the juvenile attempted to flee the scene to avoid identification and apprehension.

The driver of the LANTA bus, identified as Richard Gubish, Jr., saw the crash in his rear view mirror and also saw the driver attempting to get away. Mr. Gubish took immediate and decisive action and positioned his bus across the lanes of the bridge, effectively blocking the path of the getaway driver.

Another witness to the crash, Judson Smull, stopped to render aid to the injured Pavlick, who implored Smull to go after the offending driver to get the license plate. Smull also took immediate action, and following the lead of Mr. Gubish, positioned his car directly behind the offending vehicle, further blocking any attempt to escape.

The next vehicle across the bridge was a marked Bethlehem Police car being operated by veteran Officer Wade Haubert. Officer Haubert stopped at Mr. Pavlick to render aid, and learning that he was not seriously injured, proceeded to take the offending juvenile into custody.

The quick and selfless actions by Mr. Gubish and Mr. Smull brought this potentially tragic situation to a very positive conclusion. Without their decisive actions, the offending driver may not have been apprehended. We would like to thank Mr. Gubish and Mr. Smull for their selfless dedication to their community and for acting to help another in a time of need.

The juvenile offender has been the first in Bethlehem, and perhaps the state, to be charged under a new section of Pennsylvania law that provides additional protection for cyclists on our roadways. The section took effect at 12:01 a.m. on the date of the crash. The section is, in pertinent part:

§ 3303. Overtaking vehicle on the left.
(a) General rule.--The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to the limitations, exceptions and special rules stated in this chapter:
(3) The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a pedalcycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left of the pedalcycle within not less than four feet at a careful and prudent reduced speed.

In addition, the juvenile offender has been charged in Northampton County Juvenile Court with:
§ 3742(a) - Accidents Involving Death or Personal Injury (M2)
§ 3334(a) - Turning Movements and Required Signals

The Fahy Bridge has recently been notorious as the scene of the death of a local bicyclist who was run over from behind by an elderly driver. This event saw the rider survive being run over from behind by a juvenile driver, who seems to have attempted to flee the scene.

There are so many things right with this. The official correspondence refers to the victim as an "expert cyclist"; WOW. Finally, there is an online contact form for the bus line, if you want to send them a note.

God bless the people who stepped up and made things better: Mr. Richard Gubish, Jr. the bus driver; Judson Smull, the high school student in the following car who rendered aid and then blocked the vehicle from behind; the police officer on the scene; and the District Attorney.


shebicycles said...

Agree - it is great to see a response like this in defense of a cyclist and forcing accountability for the motorist. Wish it happened like this more often. Great information; thank you for sharing.

Michael Wentland said...

Being born & raised in PA, I'm so proud of my home state lately. I will be doing a follow up story with this in it at

Thanks for getting this up. We cyclists should do something big for this driver!

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