by Tom Harkness
At this point, everyone knows the dangers of texting while driving. Distracted driving not only puts yourself at risk but also those around you, including your passengers, other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists.
Thankfully, authorities are cracking down on the issue and the proof of their efforts speak for themselves. Since enacting the ban on texting while driving, according to an article in Bloomberg, "traffic fatalities dropped 3% in states that allow police to pull over drivers for texting." They also note that States that focus the prohibition specifically on younger drivers cut traffic deaths among 15- to 21-year-olds by 11%." Impressive.
However, even with the rising improvements in driving safety, this time of year it's especially important to give your children a review of safe-driving techniques. They might roll their eyes and say they've heard all this before. However, when they return to school, your kids who are of the legal driving age will likely be traveling in heavier traffic than they typically dealt with over the summer. They will also be surrounded by less-experienced drivers that might not take the same safety precautions. A review of defensive driving techniques and ways to keep themselves secure while behind the wheel can make all the difference.
One easy way in particular that you can go over vehicle safety with them is by utilizing Verizon Wireless' "It's Up to Me" app. By texting DRIVING to 74579, motorists can take get the facts on distracted driving and even take a quiz to test their knowledge on safe driving tactics. By doing the quiz together, you'll be able to see which areas they might still be unsure of, or have questions about.
They also need to be comfortable with the increase of pedestrian and biking traffic that are inevitable with the start of school. According to AAA, 13% of children nationwide either bike or walk to school regularly. They also report that "The afternoon hours are particularly dangerous—over the last decade, nearly one in four child pedestrian fatalities occurred between 3 and 7 p.m."
Remind your kids about the importance of utilizing defensive driving techniques not only with other cars, but everyone they share the road with. At the very least, they should keep a minimum of three feet between their vehicle and a cyclist, and they should always be ready for the unexpected. Things can get hectic when school gets out in the afternoon, and it's just as easy for a pedestrian or cyclist to get distracted.
To all those behind the wheel, remember that it's not just your life that you're putting at risk when you allow yourself to be distracted while driving. Always stay aware, because texting can wait.
Town Councilor and chair of West Hartford's Public Safety Committee Harry Captain has proposed a resolution concerning the renewal and strengthening of the town's commitment to traffic, pedestrian and cyclist safety. The resolution addresses safety and right of way issues for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles, and directs the town manager to reinvigorate safety efforts.
West Hartford Assistant Police Chief Bob McCue is on board with the effort. McCue is quoted as saying "There are a lot of things you have no control over, but accidents are preventable. The theme is always to get folks to realize they've got to share the road. No one has a God-given right to have a straight shot to their place of employment or home or anything, You've got to be respectful of everyone else."
Amen to that!
Click here to read the full West Hartford Life story by Abigail Albair. The story starts at page 54. Read the resolution here. We'll update this post when we have confirmation that it passed at the August 26 town council meeting.
Is there news we can use from your town? Let us know--we're always looking!
CRCOG's hugely important Bicycle and Pedestrian Count begins in two weeks and volunteers are still needed. Can you help?
Why is this so HUGELY important?
Bike ped statistics gauge general trends in activity and make the all important case to fund projects that benefit bicyclists and pedestrians in the future. Bike ped counts help document changes in bike and pedestrian activity that relate to CTfastrak, East Coast Greenway connections, bike lanes on Burnside Avenue, New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Commuter Rail, and other upcoming projects that the bike ped community regularly dreams about.
How much time do you need from me? When and where do you need me?
Count times are generally 2 hours in length and are located in areas throughout the Capitol Region. Weekday counts will be conducted on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday (September 9, 10 or 11) from 4-6 PM unless otherwise noted and Weekend counts will be conducted on Saturday o Sunday (September 13 or 14) from 11AM-1PM unless otherwise noted.
Can I look at map for CRCOG's count locations?
As a matter of fact, yes you can. Click here for a map of CRCOG's count locations. Priority areas are indicated with a red star and secondary locations are indicated with a blue diamond.
Who do I contact to volunteer?
If you haven’t already done so, please contact Mike Cipriano at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-522-2217 x223 to sign up for a count location.
Connecticut Safe Routes to School will hold a regional workshop at the Taftville Fire Department on September 18th from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. The workshop will cover the following topics:
1. What is Safe Routes to School? (SRTS)
2. Goals and History of Program
3. The Need for Safe Routes to School
4. Barriers to Walking/Biking to School
5. Health Impacts
6. Benefits of Walking/Biking to School
7. Discussion of the 5 "E's" of SRTS and practical applications
8. A walk around the school to identify issues/solutions
9. Observation of school dismissal and discussion of
key points to look for at your school
10. How to start a Safe Routes to School Program
Taftville Fire Department is located at 134 Providence Street.
September 18, 2014
12:30 PM-3:30 PM
Taftville Fire Department
134 Providence StreetTaftville, CT 06380
A public informational meeting on the Merritt Parkway Multi-Use Trail Feasibility Study on Tuesday, September 16 at 7 p.m. at the Greenwich Town Hall Meeting Room, 101 Field Point Road in Greenwich.
More information on the study is available at www.ct.gov/DOT/MerrittTrailStudy.
A new CTfastrak bus was unveiled during a ceremony at the State Capitol on Monday. The ceremony was followed by a transit-oriented development tour of the CTfastrak bus rapid transit system.
During the ceremony, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said: "CTfastrak, along with the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Rail Program, will create opportunities for mixed-use transit-oriented development along two of the state’s most populated corridors, linking existing neighborhoods to employment centers. These transportation systems unlock the potential for TOD development that can support the creation of housing choice and vibrant commercial centers that allow residents to work, play, and shop without the need of a car."
The bus that was unveiled will be part of a new fleet of hybrid diesel-electric buses that will begin operating in central Connecticut in early 2015. The buses will include 30-foot buses to provide neighborhood circulator service and 40-foot buses to operate connector routes. The main line service will be operated with 60-foot articulated buses that will begin to arrive in the fall. All the new buses will feature GPS tracking so riders can find out where their bus is, LED lighting and free WiFi service.
Following the CTfastrak bus unveiling ceremony and press conference, officials took a transit-oriented development tour of the CTfastrak guideway. The tour began at the CTfastrak Downtown New Britain Station and followed the guideway through Newington, West Hartford and into Hartford.
The Scoville Road section of the Rails-To-Trails path in Avon will be closed for pedestrian and bicycle use during the weekdays through Wednesday, September 3. The path will however be open on the weekends.
The closure begins at Scoville Road in Avon and goes south to Griffinville Road in Farmington. The path will be closed in order for Connecticut Light & Power to remove utility poles and wires on the path that are no longer in use.
The Greater New Milford Spectrum reports that cyclists took part in the 289-mile Western New England Greenway bike ride in July, which started in Burlington, VT and ended in New Milford.
The ride was meant to promote the creation of a greenway for cyclists from Quebec's province-wide Route Verte to Long Island Sound.
Read the full article here.
The CT Post reports that in Fairfield County pedestrians that are older than 60 have a risk that is three times greater of being struck and/or killed by a car than younger Connecticut residents. These statistics come from a new analysis of federal highway accident data.
According to the article, the analysis found that 31 of the 75 pedestrians in 14 of Fairfield County's cities and towns from 2003 to 2012 were people over the age of 60.
Read the full article here.
Send us your bike walk related news and time permitting, we'll do our best to post it.