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Tag Archives: safety

Record Number of Traffic Deaths in 2016

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405trafficMore people are dying on California roads—and across the country.

Both California and the U.S. saw a hike in traffic fatalities last year, reaching their highest level in nearly a decade. In the state, roughly 3,680 people died in traffic collisions, a 13% increase from the previous year. Nationally, that number hit an estimated 40,000, compared to 37,757 in 2015, the sharpest one-year increase in 53 years.

According to the National Safety Council, which released the report, the record increases can be partly attributed to the economic recovery. More people are on the roads now, which leads to more accidents. Another reason for the uptick is our fatalistic sense of complacency, said the council's president and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman.

"Americans believe there is nothing we can do to stop crashes from happening, but that isn't true," Hersman continued.

In fact, there are many things we can do to be safer on the road. Among them include the mandatory use of ignition interlock devices to keep impaired drivers from starting their cars, using automated cameras to track speeds, pedestrian safety programs, and expanded use of automated driving devices such as emergency braking and blind-spot and lane-departure warnings.

As drivers, there are things individually that we can do to stay safe. Follow the four-second rule, slow down, be in the moment and just drive, and above all, be alert, Bruins.

 

6 Ways to Share the Road with Cyclists

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sharetheroadBecause drivers, cyclists and pedestrians all must share the road, accidents are usually unavoidable. And while there are potential dangers to different methods of transportation, driving, cycling or walking can be done safely. Still, if you are aware and cautious of any potential accidents and harm that may come your way, you can more easily avoid causing or being involved in an accident. Here are six situations in which cycling accidents are most likely to occur and how to avoid them.

  1. Turning Left or Right Onto Another Roadway

When drivers are unaware of advancing cyclists upon making a turn, accidents and injuries are likely to occur. Drivers can turn left and hit the cyclist, or the cyclist may not be able to slow down quickly enough and may wind up slamming into the car. As a driver, you can avoid these types of incidents simply by following proper driving etiquette. Come to a complete stop at each stop sign and look both directions for cyclists—and pedestrians and other vehicles for that matter—before proceeding.

  1. Opening Your Door While Parallel Parking

When you parallel park, be sure to watch out for cyclists approaching from behind before you open your car door. If you don't pay attention and open the door too quickly, the cyclist may not have enough time to react and slow down, causing them to run into your car door. In this case, the cyclist may flip off their bicycle or suffer serious injuries while lying helplessly in the middle of the road. You can avoid this type of accident by always checking your rearview and side mirrors for cyclists and opening the door slowly so that any approaching riders will have time to slow down.

  1. Crosswalks

Cyclists often resort to using pedestrian crosswalks when there is heavy traffic on the road. Be aware that cyclists travel much faster than people on foot, and you may not be able to see them without paying close attention. Always be on the lookout for signs, pavement stripes and riders when you approach a crosswalk to make a turn.

  1. Riding Against Traffic

Sometimes cyclists ride against traffic due to one-way streets. On these type of roads, vehicles travel in the same direction, but cyclists may be riding toward you. Look both ways before turning onto a one-way street, and always watch for oncoming traffic. Simply being more aware of cyclists sharing the road can save all parties from getting into an accident.

  1. Turning Right on Red

When you make a right turn at a red light, there may be a bicyclist in your blind spot also attempting to make a right turn. This maneuver can be dangerous because as you both make the turn, you may steer too close to the bicyclist. Avoid an accident by checking your blind spots and checking for approaching bicyclists before making a right turn.

  1. Simply Not Paying Attention

Accidents can occur simply because drivers do not notice cyclists on the road. Being unaware cyclists share the same road as drivers can lead to a number of accidents that can easily be avoided. To make matters worse, there are a number of cyclists who don't wear recommended reflectors and disregard recommended cycling etiquette.

As a driver with more power on the road than a cyclist, ingrain it into your driving habits to watch out for cyclists and pedestrians. When we are more aware of our surroundings and the people that inhabit the same spaces, we can better share the road and avoid accidents. Still need some tips? Driving-tests.org offers a great resource for sharing the road with bicyclists and ways you can prevent accidents.

 

Pokémon GO Tips: How to Catch Them All

Fullerton, United States - July 13, 2016: Image of people playing pokemon go game on an iphone smartphone devices. Pokemon Go is a popular virtual reality game for mobile devices.

Pokémon GO is officially the most popular app in the history of the U.S.

And while some are decrying how annoying its prevalence can be (there’s that get-off-my-lawn guy and these Sydney residents), some are championing its power of getting people off their butts to explore the city. After all, why is it OK to sit at home and play Candy Crush but not OK to walk around and catch some Pokémon?

Personally, I think it’s awesome. Walking out of a bar at midnight on Friday, I witnessed hordes of kids gathered at a library park talking about a Squirtle they’d just caught down the street. It’s a phenomenon unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life. And it’s pretty cool to see people from all corners of life bonding over Pikachus and Pokéballs. You can spot a Pokémon trainer a mile away and, for a moment, share a connection amid a world of chaos.

The key to catching Pokémon is to play smart. That rings true when it comes to battling, and it also rings true when it comes to safety. Common sense stuff. Like don’t stand in the middle of the road or crosswalk. Don’t go searching for Pokémon by yourself in dark, sketchy neighborhoods. Don’t Poke and drive.

What you can do, though, is Poke and walk, Poke and bike, and Poke and ride transit. To expand your gaming wisdom, I’ve compiled some safe and sustainable ways to help you Pokémon trainers catch them all.

WalkingPokemon Go App Being Played on iPhone

Who would have thought that all it would take to get Americans walking again would be a virtual reality game about tiny critters?

Getting out of your house and walking around is by far the easiest way to catch some Pokémon. Just remember:

  1. Know where you are at all times and watch where you’re going.
  2. Don’t stand in the middle of the street/crosswalks/driveways.
  3. Don’t hassle business owners .
  4. Respect homeowners’ private property.

Biking

Just like the original Game Boy Pokémon games, having a bike makes everything better. Here’s how to do it without crashing into the first Zubat you see.

  1. Get a phone mount and turn your bike into a Pokemon GO machine like this guy.
  2. Wear a headphone (non-noise-cancelling) so you can rely on the game’s sounds instead of looking down at your screen.
  3. Turn off AR. Your phone is mounted so pointing your camera at Pokémon would require unmounting it every time.
  4. Remember to stop before you catch Pokémon, collect items at PokéStops or battle at gyms.
  5. Avoid high-speed, traffic-laden streets.
  6. Don’t stop your bike in the middle of the road. Pull off to the side before catching that Pidgeotto.

TransitPokemon Go01

Metro brilliantly wasted no time launching its new Twitter account @PokemonGOMetro when the craze first hit. They’re here to help you take transit and catch Pokémon:

  1. @PokemonGOMetro maps the location of PokéStops.
  2. @PokemonGOMetro also provides exclusive Pokémon sightings and tells you how to get there using transit .
  3. Gym battles are best won on foot. Numerous Metro Rail stations serve as “gyms” for training and battling Pokémon.
  4. Stay alert and protect yourself against theft while riding transit
  5. Make sure you make room for those who need access to the space you’re occupying

Happy hunting!

Be Alert Bruins Quiz and Contest Winners!

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TakeTheTime_BannerCongratulations this year's Be Alert Bruins online driver safety quiz winners!

  1. Tracy Alberi
  2. Peter Maglieri
  3. Duy Dang

Please contact UCLA Transportation to pick up your new roadside emergency kit (a $50 value). You can also send us a message on our Facebook page. Thank you to all those who participated this year!

Our #PullOverAndDoThat social media contest winner is Charles Carter! He submitted a story about a motorist washing his hair while driving. How crazy is that?! Read it below, and thanks for sharing, Charles.

Remember, folks: Be Alert Bruins. Take the Time: Rear-End Collisions Can Happen in Seconds!

"The most memorable ‪#‎pulloveranddothat‬ thing I ever saw involving a driver was more of a 'Go Home and Do That' situation. Behind the wheel of our vanpool, heading home for the day, we had just transitioned from the northbound 405 to the westbound 101, near Sherman Oaks. Both freeways were congested and speeds at that point were under 20mph.

In front of us was the back of the head of a person with long hair driving a full-size pick-up truck with construction materials visible in the back. Suddenly, this person sticks there long hair (now tilted at an angle) out the driver's side window, with their right hand holding the steering wheel and their left hand holding a 1-gallon container of water. While continuing to drive, this person pours the water over their head, throws the empty container back into the truck and the next thing we know, they've applied what must have been shampoo to their head.

While still holding onto the steering wheel with their right hand and their head still out of the window, this person uses their 'free' hand to work the shampoo into their scalp. Said person then reaches back inside the truck, pulls out another 1-galloon water container, proceeds with a 'rinse cycle,' shakes their long wet hair like after a dog's been given a bath, and, finally, reaches inside for a towel to towel off with one hand. All this while they continue to drive down the freeway in front of us in the same lane. My fellow vanpool passenger sitting up front with me in the 'shotgun seat' and I were speechless!"

 

 

 

Westwood Bike Lanes Are Here to Stay

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BikeLane_Westwood_BlogVictory! The LA City Planning Commission voted unanimously last week to preserve the Westwood bike lanes provision of Mobility Plan 2035.

Of the 32 people who offered public comment on implementing bike lanes on Westwood, 27 voiced their support, pointing to its many benefits, the most important of which is the safety of bicyclists, motorists and pedestrians.

According to Streetsblog LA, Koretz testified that the protected bike lanes would be "pretty dangerous," calling the thousands of bicyclists who use Westwood every day (UCLA staff and students alike) "aggressive people." Opponents lamented that the bike lanes would increase traffic and make it less safe for motorists and bicyclists, despite numerous studies to the contrary.

Check out our full coverage of the Westwood bike lane tug-of-war.

Mobility Plan 2035 now awaits approval from City Council before landing on the mayor's desk for its final checkpoint.