Back to School Safety

Picture Source: http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/back-to-school-safety-tips-for-drivers.aspx

Picture Source: http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/back-to-school-safety-tips-for-drivers.aspx

With #backtoschool in full swing, many of us have noticed the inevitable; more cars and more congestion.  Back to school means sharing the roads and slowing down. There are school buses picking up kids from multiple stops, kids on bikes are rushing to get to school on time, and parents are trying to drop their kids off before work.

If you are someone who is dropping off your kids to school, make sure that the area is clear before letting them get out of the car. More children are hit by cars/buses near schools than at any other location, according to the National Safe Routes to School program. Before dropping off your kids be sure you are not double parked. This blocks visibility for other vehicles passing by. Do not drop off your kids across the street from their school, even though it may be more convenient for you. Carpooling is also a great way to reduce the number of vehicles around the school, which decreases the chances of a child getting hit.  Don’t block crosswalks- especially when you are stopped at a red light. Be sure to give the pedestrians the right away, whether they are walking or riding a bike. When you are in school zone and flashers are blinking, be sure to come to a complete stop and watch for children. Lastly, do your best to watch out for your children in school zones, playgrounds and residential areas, as well as the other children around them.

During school hours, there will be more and more school buses on the roads. If you are ever driving behind a school bus, you should always allow a greater following distance than you would driving behind a car. This then allows you to have more time to stop once the bus puts on it’s yellow flashing lights. Never pass a school bus if you are stopped behind them while they are picking up children. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children. Passing a school bus from either direction on an undivided road, can potentially put children who are loading or unloading in danger if they are unaware that you are coming.

We are all responsible – as pedestrians and drivers, to make #backtoschool a safe return!

 

New Jersey Kick-offs New Pedestrian Safety Pilot Program

streetsmartStreet Smart urges all roadway users to obey vital roadway signs to prevent crashes

A new pedestrian safety pilot program is underway in Newark, Woodbridge, Hackettstown, and Jersey City. The “Street Smart” campaign, a collaborative effort between public, private and non-profit organizations, urges motorists and pedestrian to “check your vital signs” to improve your safety on the road.

The “vital signs” message reminds both drivers and pedestrians to pay attention and adhere to posted signage, which will make travel safer for all roadway users. For motorists, that means observing posted speed limits and stop signs, and stopping for pedestrians in marked crosswalks. If you’re on foot, use crosswalks and wait for the walk signal. If everyone heeded these signs, crashes could be prevented and lives saved. The message may seem simple, but it’s vitally important.

The campaign is long overdue. New Jersey ranks 14th in the nation in pedestrian fatalities and is designated a “focus” state by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Between 2009 and 2012, 565 pedestrians were killed and more than 17,000 injured on our roadways — that translates to one death every 2.5 days and 11 injuries daily. Last year, 568 people died in motor vehicle crashes in New Jersey — 25 percent were pedestrians.

At a campaign kick-off event held November 1 at the New Jersey Institute of Technology campus in Newark, representatives from the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, which is coordinating the campaign in partnership with FHWA, the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, joined with municipal and law enforcement officials, and safety and public health advocates. They unveiled the campaign message and outreach materials, and discussed the effects of speed on pedestrian safety. If a pedestrian is struck by a car going 20 mph or slower, the odds of survival are good. At speeds above 35 mph, the impact is likely to be fatal.

The campaign uses advertising, grassroots public awareness efforts and law enforcement to address pedestrian safety. Community groups are joining with businesses, schools, churches, hospitals, and non-profit organizations to post and distribute information including tips for all roadway users.

Police officers in the pilot communities are enforcing pedestrian safety laws. They’re focusing on motorists who fail to obey New Jersey’s law requiring them to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk, as well as pedestrians who jaywalk. They’re also addressing speeding, illegal turns and distracted and inattentive driving and walking, which contribute to pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes.

Despite the program being piloted in these four communities, roadway users throughout New Jersey are urged to get on board. The goal of the Street Smart campaign is to reduce the number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities on all roadways. It is possible. Check your vital signs. Obey the law.  Lives are on the line.

 

credit: NJTPA

Pay Attention

Pay-attention1I turned into the street and moved into the right lane.  The light was in my favor and I signaled my intention to turn right.  But, I slammed on my brakes as I made the turn because a bicyclist who ran his red light almost ran into me.  I sat there fuming as he pedaled away totally oblivious to the accident he almost caused.

But there’s more.  A few blocks later, I put on my left turn blinker.  The driver of a car approaching in the opposite direction signaled that he was turning to his left.  Thank goodness I paused a moment before taking the turn.  If I had not, the car left would have crashed into mine because the driver didn’t turn left at all.  He drove straight ahead even as his left turn signal blinked.

If we’re on the road as motorists, pedestrians, or bicyclists, we all have to be careful and watch what we’re doing.  Stop lights are for everybody, those who are driving, walking or bicycling.  Turn signals mean the motorist or bicyclist (who should know hand signals) intends to turn. 

 It’s real simple.  Pay attention. 

A Transportation Planner Visits Barcelona – Changes in Latitude

“I, therefore, openly repaired to Barcelona, that repository of politeness…that agreeable scene of unshaken friendship, unparalleled both in beauty and situation!” Don Quixote

It was a beautiful and sunny day as my wife, daughters, and I left our cruise ship to enjoy the beauty of Barcelona.  No tour bus for us.  We wanted to experience this Mediterranean jewel on foot.

We weren’t the only ones.

photo credit: IES Abroad

photo credit: IES Abroad

Everywhere, the streets were filled with tourists, students, businessmen and women, even the elderly walking, bicycling or zipping around on Vespa scooters.  Walking through town, we experienced the history and culture of Spain’s most cosmopolitan city.  The excitement and energy pulsed around us in this city so ancient yet so modern. For me, it was a transportation professional’s dream.

I was fascinated by the mixed land use, marriage of old and new.  Likewise, the commitment to a balanced transportation system proved that a “streets that work for all” approach can work in a large city.  The streets were shared by motor vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit services.  Barcelona’s population exceeds 1.5 million.  With considerable distance between tourist areas and monuments, the best way to get around is by using the underground subway.  It is clean, on time, and efficient.

The bus system is enhanced with beautifully designed shelters that attracted passengers of all ages.  I noticed city maps, route maps, stop signs, benches and other amenities at all stops along the main routes.

Overall, it appeared that transportation and transportation planning seem to be high priorities for Barcelona’s city officials, professionals, and decision makers.  It works well, and was well appreciated by this tourist.

-MA

SummerBlogPhoto

Each Wednesday, KMM’s staff members share stories and anecdotes about their
memorable vacations, recent and past.  These will be personal
recollections about trips to our beloved Jersey shore, across America,
and around the world.  Changes in Latitude………..