Changes in Latitude – KMM Summer Blog Series

SummerBlogPhotoWelcome to our new Summer Blog Series,

Changes in Latitude…

From time to time, we all need a change in latitude to help us relax, re-energize, reboot, and reconnect with family, friends, or our true selves.

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. 

Of course, being in the business of transportation, our travel logs feature different modes of travel.  You don’t need a passport to come along as we take bikes, boats, planes, trains, hot air balloons, and other means of conveyance to places far and wide.  Join us for …

                                                Changes in Latitude………..

 

A Brief History of Carpooling

12847ff5b3499cc22b77bb379a864543While KMM’s history with ridesharing goes back 25 years, ridesharing can be traced to the early 20th century. The Model T lured commuters off streetcars and into private vehicles. The start of WWI and the 1914 recession inspired entrepreneurs to offset the costs of car ownership by picking up streetcar passengers and transporting them to their destinations for a “jitney,” the 5-cent cost of a streetcar fare. During WWII, early attempts to promote “car clubbing” were largely ignored, in part because, the general public didn’t understand the need to conserve fuel.

This changed when the United States entered the war. “They Do It, So Can We” was one of many patriotic appeals appearing on posters and ads. The gas shortages of the 1970s encouraged a 55 mph speed limit and high occupancy vehicle lanes. Additionally, funding initiatives to promote ridesharing were introduced and for the first time,  ridesharing was linked to improved air quality.

Today carpooling has evolved into apps, online programs, point systems and sometimes even “slugging”.  Our reasons for carpooling range from saving money, convenience and creating a more sustainable community.  But regardless of how we carpool or why we carpool, carpooling – we think – is here to stay.

The Heat is On!

ar117877265593045It’s only May and the heat is on!  The quality of the air we breathe can have huge implications on our health and well being. Ground level ozone is most dangerous during the hot summer months when strong sunlight and hot weather combine and react with ground level pollution. According to the American Lung Association, 58% of the US population live in areas with unhealthy ozone levels.

Unhealthy ozone levels can make it difficult to breath deeply and damage the airwaves. Children, the elderly, and those with lung disease are most vulnerable during elevated ozone days. Therefore it is important we take necessary precautions on those particular days and try to avoid prolonged outdoor activities.

We can also do our part to reduce ground level ozone by following some simple steps:

  1. Don’t Idle. Not only is burning gas “fuelish”, but exhaust emitted from vehicles releases carbon      dioxide into the air and contributes to climate change.
  2. Refuel during the evening and don’t “top-off” your fuel tank.
  3. Postpone mowing the lawn and grilling until later in the day.
  4. Schedule strenuous activities for early morning or late evening.
  5. Register for KMM’s Ozone Action Partnership.

The New Jersey Ozone Action Partnership is comprised of hundreds of corporations, government agencies and individuals working to reduce ground-level ozone pollution and curtail its detrimental effects on our health and the environment. As a member of the Partnership, your organization will receive an email alert on days when ground level ozone pollution is in the unhealthy range along with “tips” to help reduce ground level ozone. To register for KMM’s Ozone Action Partnership, and learn more about the Anti-Idling program, visit www.kmm.org.

Share the Road, Save a Life!

share-the-road1The warm weather has finally arrived and that means more people are leaving their cars behind and opting for pedal power to get to their destinations. Not only is this a fun way to explore the sights and sounds of the GardenState, but it also incorporates physical fitness into your day. And for many NJ residents, bicycling is the only form of transportation to get to and from work.

If you’re an avid bike rider, you’re probably aware of the rules of the road, but if you’re not very experienced, or just prefer to drive in the comfort of your car at all times, it’s important to remember that the road belongs to both bicyclists and automobiles. We need to practice mutual respect and follow all state and local traffic laws in order to reach our destinations safely.

New Jersey’s Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulations laws recognizes bicycles as a vehicle and grants bicyclists all the same rights and responsibilities as any other automobile traveling along our state’s roadways. This means, that bicycles are permitted on all roadways, unless expressly stated otherwise, and must follow the same traffic rules and patterns as motor vehicles.

According to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, there are an average of 173 reported bicycle accidents in MiddlesexCounty every year. In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission reported 12 fatalities related to bicycle accidents throughout the state.

So what can we do to prevent bicycling accidents and fatalities? Bikeleague.org offers these common sense tips to bicyclists and motorists:

 

Bicyclists:

Obey all vehicle traffic laws, lights and signs

Use hand signals to signify stops and turns to other vehicles

Stay to the right of the road and always ride in the same direction as traffic

Wear bright colored/reflective clothing and a proper fitting helmet

Use front and rear lights when riding at dawn and dusk

Make eye contact with the driver of other vehicles and proceed with caution.

 

Motorists:

Reduce speed when approaching bicyclists

Do not tailgate or follow too closely; Give the bicyclist space

Yield to bicyclists and give them the right of way, do not try to beat them to the intersection.

When passing, leave four feet between you and the bike rider

Do not blast your horn next to a bicyclist, as this may startle the rider and cause them to lose control.

Make eye contact with the bicyclist and proceed with caution.

Remember the road belongs to everyone. Following these simple rules will ensure we all have a safe and happy trip.