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.

NJ Summer Shore – Get Ready, It’s Almost Here!

Android_NJ_playFor many New Jersey residents, driving down the shore is part of their very summer being.  It’s as natural as waking up and brushing their teeth.  This year, more than ever, returning to the Jersey Shore is a symbol of triumph and strength after suffering devastation at the hands of Super Storm Sandy.

In less than 10 days, the Jersey Shore will officially open its beaches on Memorial Day Weekend and kick off the 2013 Summer season.  Along with the smiles and splashes in the ocean waters, however, comes the traffic and delays on the roads.  And while I am sure it will be a welcome sight for many,  sitting is traffic can totally be avoided this year.

How you ask?

The NJ Turnpike Authority recently launched the SafeTripNJ application for all smartphones.  This hands free app offers you traffic advisories in real-time as you are traveling.  The app will remain on while you drive, automatically activating when you approach an area impacted by an  advisory. The app will broadcast  any travel alerts for reported conditions within a set mile-range (that you can set for yourself) of your current location.

So this summer, download the app and jump onto your route to the Jersey Shore.  Smile as you pass your favorite landmarks to your final shore town destination – all while avoiding sitting in summer traffic.  Because this year,  We are Jersey – Jersey Strong.

Are you Ready to Ride?

2013logoMay is National Bike Month.

The mornings are bright, the weather is warm, and it’s a perfect time to start biking to work.

Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Know where to go
Take some time to map out your route before you start. The shortest route tends to be the busiest – going a little bit out of the way can lead you to quiet parallel streets for a more enjoyable ride. Other cyclists prefer the direct route – look for bike lanes and wide shoulders for a comfortable and speedy ride.
Get your bike in shape
Check over your bike to make sure it’s in good working order, especially if you haven’t ridden it in a while. Check the tire pressure, brakes, chain and gears. If in doubt, take it to your local bike shop for a tune up.
Ride safe
Riding predictably is the most important thing you can do when riding on the road. A bike is a vehicle – use your turn signals (your arms!) to let drivers know when you’re turning, and always obey traffic signs and signals. And always wear a helmet – it’s your last line of defense.
Be visible
Coming home late? Use a front white light and a rear red light – it’s common sense and it’s the law. Wear light-colored clothing and consider reflective gear.
Enjoy the ride
It’s spring! Take it easy and enjoy the blooming trees and fresh air.
Now that your ready, grab your helmets and get on your bike! 
Share your photos of your bike adventure with us by emailing us at cfowler@kmm.org!
~PB