Getting hit by a bus has become one of the most tried and true tropes around. Be it Regina George, Barney Stinson, or, most recently, a certain Brooklyn Nine-Nine character, “hit-by-a-bus” is the ultimate shock-and-awe or shock-and-awww moment, and has been for quite some time. Here’s a supercut our friend Harry Hanrahan put together nearly four years ago.
As a verbal cliche, “hit by a bus” as the go-to example of an unexpected death seems to have its earliest origins thanks to Joseph Conrad in 1907’s The Secret Agent and has become common parlance since then.
In film and television, some of the most notable hit-by-a-bus moments have turned out just fine. Barney Stinson got a quick physical therapy montage; Regina George wore a large brace to prom. But in real life, is that how it happens?
Yeah, probably not. Possibly, though. Writer Anna Merlan got hit by a bus and recovered. It seems to depend on the speed of the bus.
Ultimately, take comfort in the knowledge this happens far less in reality than in entertainment. In 2007, just 10 cyclists or pedestrians died as a result of being hit by a bus, and unless buses have become sentient and vengeful since then (which is not out of the question, to be honest) that number probably hasn’t seen a big increase since.
Look both ways before crossing the street and don’t be Joe Black.