Distracted Driving Big Problem #VisionZero

We’ve known about distracted driving dangers for many years now.  But not much is happening to improve the situation, even cell phone / texting bans for drivers. New cars continue to come to market with technology that caters to drivers talking on the phone, checking Facebook, email, and text messages.

But, this new study out last week has some shocking evidence, that 1 in 4 drivers was on a phone just before crash, study of distracted driving says.

Traffic fatalities have risen by 14 percent over the last two years, and distracted driving is a likely factor along with the improved economy and low gas prices, which have put more cars on the road, according to the National Safety Council, a nonprofit public service group. The nonprofit Governors Highway Safety Association has projected an 11 percent increase in the number of pedestrians killed in 2016 compared with 2015, and also cited smartphone distraction.

Our roads are getting more dangerous for pedestrians, and bicycle riders.

About the time we all first started hearing the term distracted driving, we were enjoying safer streets for bicycle riders and pedestrians. That trend is over and the rising stats are alarming. Some states are increasing fines. Enforcement is still challenging and under enforced either because of challenges, under-staffed. Some bicycle and pedestrian folks think walking and cycling police enforcement is the way to catch distracted drivers.

Watch out for drivers using their phones. We know that distracted driving is a fairly dominant reason people have a crash, but we can’t always get away from them especially when they are all over our roads.

Drivers: Share the Road

People on bicycles have the same rights as people behind the wheel of a car.  And the same responsibilities.

  • Yield to bicyclists as you would motorists and do not underestimate their speed. This will help avoid turning in front of a bicyclist traveling on the road or sidewalk, often at an intersection or driveway.
  • In parking lots, at stop signs, when packing up, or when parking, search your surroundings for other vehicles, including bicycles.
  • Drivers turning right on red should look to the right and behind to avoid hitting a bicyclist approaching from the right rear. Stop completely and look left-right-left and behind before turning right on red.
  • Obey the speed limit, reduce speed for road conditions and drive defensively to avoid a crash with a cyclist.
  • Give cyclists room. Do not pass too closely. Pass bicyclists as you would any other vehicle—when it’s safe to move over into an adjacent lane.

National Survey of Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behavior

This NHTSA Survey of Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and behavior is from 2012 but it is relevant today in 2017.

One startling take away is that cyclists do feel threatened on their bikes on a fairly regular basis:

When asked whether they felt threatened for their personal safety while riding a bicycle on their most
recent travel day, one in eight respondents that had ridden in the past 30 days reported that they felt
threatened during some point on their ride.

And no surprise, bicycle lanes and bicycle paths are important to cyclists, and being able to have one nearby where you live and work makes a difference:

Respondents who had ridden a bicycle within the past year and who have bicycle paths available within a
quarter mile of where they live were more likely to use bicycle paths for at least some of their rides
compared to riders not living near bicycle paths.

Though cyclists want the “Idaho Stop” and California cyclists may soon get this law, the majority of cyclists know to obey the same roadway laws as car drivers and do stop at stop signs and lights:

Nearly all respondents were aware that the rules that apply to motor vehicles regarding traffic lights and
stop signs also apply to bicyclists. More than 9 in 10 reported that a bicyclist must stop at traffic lights
and stop signs.

Everyone is a pedestrian.

Respondents who had walked outside for five minutes or more at least once during the past year were
asked how often they walk during the summer months. Four in five respondents reported walking at least
once a week. Very few respondents claimed that they never walked during the summer months.

Cars and Bikes Share the Road

Good article from Ohio about Ohio bicycle laws for cars and bicyclists to better understand how to better share the road and be aware of each other. One important point that is emphasized is reminding drivers that bicycle riders are vulnerable road users, this includes the new law about leaving a passing buffer space around a cyclist and your vehicle.

Although these are Ohio bicycle laws, many of them are very similar to California, and many of them are just good common sense reminders about how we all can share the road safely, and get to where we are going without incident, stress, and hopefully with some fun along the way.

Breaking down Ohio’s bicycle laws

But, even though drivers and bicyclists follow many of the same rules on the road, both need to remain aware of the vulnerability of those on bikes, he said.
“If you pass me too close in your car or if you’re errant in that way, you can do serious human bodily damage,” Kuhn said. “We’re not driving a 4,000-pound cage with 10 airbags.”

Pleased to be a Gold Business Sponsor San Diego Mountain Biking Association

Goetz Law Firm recently became a Gold Business Sponsor of San Diego Mountain Biking Association. In addition, attorney Dean Goetz donated $300 toward needed trail maintenance equipment purchases for the many trail volunteers who put in the hard work to make these trails available to us all.

Go Mt. Bike. And support your local mountain biking association in any way that you can!

Don’t Say ‘Cyclists,’ Say ‘People on Bikes’

A group of Seattle-based safer streets advocates say they’ve been able to foster a much more civil debate by changing up the language they use.
City Lab 2/11/2017

“Now the city talks about safety. When you feel like what you are gaining is the ability to walk freely and safely around your neighborhood, rather than bike lanes for somebody else, that sounds a lot better.”

Ultimate Guide To The Benefits Of Biking

Ultimate Guide To The Benefits Of Biking

Explore and consider the many benefits of bicycling from health, lowering stress, affordable transportation option to community and environmental and economic benefits.

The hospitality sector will also benefit from an increased number of tourists and this will bring further welfare in the local area.

From biking tourism will also benefit many other businesses too. First of all, the local tour operators can organize city tours by bike to attract the passionate cyclists. Secondly, bike rental and repair shops will most likely increase their sales as well.

Motorcycles – Shared Roads & Shared Responsibility

Many motorcyclists receive extensive safety training and endorsements yet still become victims of a motorcycle collision. But the reality of any motorcycle collision is that it can happen to anyone, regardless of age or experience. Most collisions occur when a vehicle driver fails to see a motorcyclist and turns in front of the rider. When these collisions occur, the rider is ALWAYS on the losing end. There is no excuse when vehicles fail to take reasonable, necessary steps to ensure the safety of everyone on the road.

California alone has 862,705 registered motorcycles and more than 1.4 million licensed riders, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The law requires that both riders and drivers share the road with awareness and caution for ALL users. But according to the California Highway Patrol, the number of people killed in motorcycle-involved collisions has increased by nearly 11 percent, from 475 killed in 2013 to 527 killed in 2014. In 2014, over 400 riders were either killed or seriously injured in San Diego County alone!

Coastline, cliffs, mountains, and arid desserts are some of the scenery that makes southern California such an attractive area for motorcycle riders. The temperate year-round climate ensures that riders will never be prevented from riding on account of the weather.

The danger of many of these beloved rides is that motorcyclists have to share the road with larger vehicles whose drivers frequently don’t see the motorcycle. With so many motorcyclists in San Diego County, motorcycle accidents are often mentioned in nightly news reports and the morning newspaper.

In automobile vs. motorcycle accidents, the motorcyclist is always the losing party. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, the majority of motorcycle accidents occur during the summer months from May through August, with over 50% of accidents happening on non-interstate major roads. In motorcycle vs. motor vehicle accidents, the motorcyclist always sustains worse injuries than the other driver, with many of these accidents resulting in broken bones and sometimes fatalities.

The following list includes a few of the motorcycle accidents that have occurred in San Diego County during the statistically high-incident summer months:

July 24, 2016 – Motorcyclist killed in car collision in San Marcos

July 16, 2016 – Motorcyclist killed after head on collision with car in Potrero

July 10, 2016 – Couple killed in motorcycle crash on I-5 in San Clemente

July 8, 2016 – Motorcyclist killed after losing control in 2 car accident in Mission Bay

July 8, 2016 – Motorcyclist killed, another injured, after collision by hit-and-run driver in Tierrasanta

July 6, 2016 – Motorcyclist killed after driver loses control of her vehicle in Pauma Valley

June 20, 2016 – Motorcyclist killed in crash near Julian

May 2, 2016 – Carlsbad motorcyclist killed in DUI car collision while lane splitting

While there are many precautions a motorcyclist can take to be safer on the road, neither the perfect speed nor very cautious driving can protect a rider from injury or death when an accident is caused by another motorist. Too often motorcyclists are assumed to have been speeding or driving recklessly and get blamed for an accident they didn’t cause. Insurance companies and insurance defense attorneys will try to make the accident the motorcyclist’s fault in order to minimize the compensation they’ll have to pay to the rider.

Don’t jeopardize your right to full compensation! If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, due to the fault of another party, it is possible to file a claim against the negligent party and obtain compensation for the medical expenses and general damages due to the injuries incurred.

Here at The Goetz Law Firm we specialize is representing motorcycle collision victims and their families. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle collision, don’t hesitate to get the representation you deserve. Call for a FREE case consultation.

San Diego Bike Mobility Plan

The City of San Diego City Council adopted a plan in June, 2016 targeted toward increasing the routes available to cyclists and improving safety on the road.
Part of the city’s 2035 Climate Action Plan, the Downtown Mobility Plan is supported by local businesses and will cost $62.5 million over the next 30 years. Its goal is to transform many vehicle lanes and on-street parking spaces into protected cycling lanes and pedestrian walkways.
With a limited number of bicycle paths in the downtown area, cyclists ride streets with relatively high traffic volumes and moderate vehicle speeds. Under these conditions, cyclists don’t feel safe navigating the road or have to weave their way through pedestrians on the sidewalks if they want to avoid proximity to automobiles.
This plan aims to correct oversights by city planners that years ago designed downtown streets without including safe, designated paths for bicycles. The new bicycle tracks will be their own lanes physically marked and separated from the rest of the street. Cycle tracks are typically located directly adjacent to a roadway but have a vertical barrier to exclude motor traffic, further segregating and protecting cyclists.
The new north-south tracks are planned to be on Pacific Highway, State Street, Sixth Avenue, and Park Boulevard. The east-west tracks will be on Beech Street, Broadway, J Street, and small sections of B and C Streets. The locations of these new tracks were placed in order to connect routes through the city to bicycle paths in surrounding cities and communities.

San Diego Bike Mobility Plan
San Diego Bike Mobility Plan

Cyclists will still need to be wary of traffic and share lane space on roads such as Harbor Drive, Market Street, and Park Boulevard that divert traffic flow from Interstate 5, Route 163, and Route 94. These roads will not have the new tracks installed and will still pose a danger to cyclists.
If you or a loved one were injured or killed in a bicycle accident due to the fault of another party, call the Goetz Law Firm now at 858-481-8844 as you may file a claim against the negligent party and obtain compensation for injuries incurred and resultant property damages.