School buses are different from other vehicles in that there are laws that dictate when you can and cannot pass them on the roads. When a school bus is stopped and its red lights are flashing, all traffic behind it must also stop until the lights are no longer illuminated. It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading passengers, even if there is an unoccupied lane to the left of the bus. These laws also apply to oncoming traffic on a non-divided roadway.
In addition, it is illegal to drive up on the sidewalk to pass a stopped school bus in either direction. Though this might seem obvious to most Illinois residents, it apparently did not stop a woman in Cleveland from doing exactly that. You might have heard about this case – the judge ordered her to stand on a sidewalk for two mornings this week while holding a sign which read “ONLY AN IDIOT WOULD DRIVE ON THE SIDEWALK TO AVOID A SCHOOL BUS.” (She was also fined $250 and had her license suspended for 30 days).
Perhaps the most mind-boggling part of the whole story is that police spotted the woman driving on the sidewalk after being tipped off to her behavior… because she had performed this dangerous maneuver several times before.
You could argue that the woman dodged a bullet by getting caught by police. Because had she driven on a sidewalk and struck a pedestrian, she could have become the target of a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit in addition to whatever criminal charges were filed against her. In these cases, a civil court jury may have ordered her to reimburse the victim or his/her family for all medical expenses and compensate them for unearned wages due to missed work – and perhaps even pay out monetary damages as well.