Recently in Bicycle Safety Category

November 13, 2012

Stop Sign Cameras in the District of Columbia

Stop Sign.jpgPhoto enforced stop signs have been very successful in the Washington, D.C. area, since they were implemented this fall. These cameras improve safety at intersections by monitoring vehicles and also help prevent pedestrians from being hit by automobiles that do not come to a full stop at stop signs. These cameras act as police officers, on continuous duty watching for violators all day every day, at a minimal cost of actual people doing the job. The District of Columbia cannot afford to post police officers at every dangerous intersection for this duty alone, even for hours a day, much less all day and all week long. Therefore; these cameras are a classic example of technological leaps forward in the United States.

When these cameras were first installed in the D.C. area there was a 30 day transition period when offending drivers were only issued warning tickets, but now that the 30 day transition period is over, drivers receive citations in the mail. The fine for running through these stop signs is $50. The fine for blocking an intersection is $100 and the fine for failing to yield to pedestrians is $250. In order to avoid these fine, under the law the car has to come to a full and complete stop before the crosswalk in order to be considered a legal stop.

In 2011 alone, existing traffic cameras generated $55.1 million dollars, and it is expected to be even more in 2012, now that the stop sign cameras for been implemented all over the city. To date, 16 stop sign cameras have been placed at dangerous intersections all over the District, most of which are near schools.

September 25, 2012

"Give Bikes 3 Feet When Passing - It's the Law", in Maryland

In October of 2010, the state of Maryland enacted the vehicle law, SB 51, which states the rules of the road in regards to keeping three feet of space between a vehicle and a bicyclist when passing a bicyclist. This includes bicycles and motor scooters.

Therefore, a new campaign was announced by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) this week for Cyclists in order to remind drivers and bicyclists that the SB 51 law exists. The new campaign is being called the "Give Bikes Three Feet When Passing - It's the Law" in order to promote bicycles safety.
Bicyclist.jpg
It has been proven that in the fall months more people use bicycles to commute around Maryland, D.C. and Virginia, therefore; the MVA added this new slogan to their outer envelopes of more than 120,000 vehicle registration renewal notices and in addition, distributed over 5,000 yard sticks (3 feet in length) all over Maryland to visually illustrate the distance drivers must provide when overtaking a bicycle.

This new campaign will educate the public and possibly change behaviors in order to have fewer bicyclists injured and killed on Maryland roads. It mainly means that everyone should share the roads. For more information, please visit the www.mva.maryland.gov

July 31, 2012

Pedestrian Detection

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 4,280 pedestrians and 618 bicyclists died as a result of accidents with motor vehicles in 2010. You would think that with all the new safety technology in vehicles these alarming number of pedestrian and bicyclists deaths would be less, but they are not. That is why General Motor's (GM) is developing Wi-Fi Pedestrian Detection Technology. This new technology will be installed in GM vehicles to increase a drivers' awareness and prevent pedestrian/driver accidents.

The new Wi-Fi detection device will detect pedestrians and cyclists that carry smartphones, to drivers who carry smartphones, when the pedestrian/cyclists are in the drivers' blindspot or stepping into the roadway from behind parked cars. The communication will be directly between the smartphone of the driver and pedestrians/cyclists. The information will reach users within a second because the connection is between two wireless devices and therefore does not need to go through mobile phone towers. This new technology is said to work between two wireless devices separated by as much as two football fields in distance from one another, therefore; it should give a driver sufficient warning of a pedestrian/cyclist and ultimately decrease vehicle/pedestrian accidents in the United States.

GM is also working on a free application that can be downloaded by bike messengers and construction workers to help vehicles identify them as well.


May 21, 2012

Bicycle Safety

According to a 2009 study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 50,000 bicyclists were injured and 630 of them died from automobile related accidents, therefore; before going on the road and riding a bicycle, here are a few tips:

- Always wear a helmet
- Use a bicycle that is the right size for you
- Make sure the tires are inflated to the correct pressure and that the brakes work properly
- Wear bright colors to make yourself visible to motorists
- Install rear and front lights onto you bicycle that are bright and visible
- If at all possible, avoid riding your bicycle at night.

In the United States, bicycles are considered vehicles, so cyclists are expected to follow the same traffic rules as a car driver. Therefore; here are a few rules while riding your bicycle on the street:

- Obey all traffic laws
- Yield to pedestrians
- Ride your bicycle in the same direction as traffic
- Make sure to signal when you make turns
- Be careful near parked cars as someone might suddenly open the door
- Be careful with vehicles coming in and out of driveways or side streets

For more information visit the NHTSA's website