Friday, September 19, 2014

Three Feet for Safety Act: A Transportation Tip for Cyclists and Drivers

By: Nicholas Ventrone, Community Engagement Director
riversidetransit@gmail.com


I'm echoing a very handy tip released by the California Highway Patrol regarding the state's Three Feet for Safety Act that went into affect last Tuesday. This is a handy tip for bicyclists and drivers.

Before we go over those and head into the weekend, here is a rundown of your views from this week.

Your Comments and Views

I believe the proposed bus routing through downtown Riverside is good because it takes soooo looonnnggg for it to get to the train station.
-Anonymous/E-mail 

That's exactly why officials need to clear that bottleneck on both sides of the Metrolink station. But that's no excuse to run a grid-based bus system through downtown given the current/proposed service frequency of the connecting routes.

Well to be fair to them, it appears to be a grid-and-spoke system at this point.
-Nevram Norman/Facebook

Yes, the street design in the surrounding areas does make it clearly difficult to engineer a total grid system outside of the downtown core. Hence, the majority of through routes still need to enter the downtown Riverside area--Grid-and-spoke. But the fact is the proposed Riverside routing is moving away from a centralized system (ie. hub-and-spoke) to decentralized (ie. grid). Only two local and the express routes are proposed to stop at the station.

I have to drive down the 15 to San Diego frequently and there are times like this where you can't even used the toll lanes with a transponder as they convert them to HOV lanes to ease the congestion.
They even move lane barriers at times so there are three toll lanes on one side and one on the other and then move them back later in the morning which is kinda' cool considering how heavy they are. They have special machinery that moves them.
Now San Diego isn't really known as a forward-looking place but if they can run their toll lanes right then why can't we up here (in Los Angeles)?
-affableman/LA Times

It's all about leadership and following HOT Lane examples and usage policies that actually work to move the most amount of people in a fair and just manner. Free non-transponder carpooling with robust law enforcement to counter carpool cheats is a proven solution.

Two other points: During ordinary traffic conditions which includes normal rush hours, the I-15 Express Lanes operates with 2 HOT Lanes each way. The barrier is moved during extraordinary circumstances which would provide for 3 HOT lanes in one direction and one in the other.

Also the commentator posted this reply in response to an automated toll violation glitch in Los Angeles that occurred back in August when all traffic along the I-110 was diverted to the Metro ExpressLanes by law enforcement and thousands of non-FasTrak vehicles got violation notices. LA officials were absolutely correct to open the HOT lanes to all during the extraordinary circumstance but the toll payment violation glitch should have never happened. The Los Angeles Times reported this story earlier this week and LA Metro and its contractor Xerox Service are working on resolving that colossal mistake.

Okay, that will happen, they learned and returning fines is how to fix it or, if they are aware of it, suspending fines during incidents. What they need to FIX though on the 110 is signage, "HOV free" type signs (nothing about needing a transponder) lured me into driving it on the way to LAX and back, and then I got tickets! Please fix this Cal Trans!
-George S1/LA Times

The Metro ExpressLanes toll rate signs actually read "HOV 2+$0 w/FASTRAK" or "HOV 3+$0 w/FASTRAK". That's still misleading because a motorist needs a switchable transponder with the car linked to a valid FasTrak account to ride for free in an HOV. HOV's with a standard transponder still pay the toll.

As matter of fact, the toll rate signs for any HOT lane system that requires all vehicles including carpools to have an ETC transponder such as a FasTrak should read "[ETC Toll Pass] ONLY" followed by the posted toll. The sign should omit any HOV discounts offered according the U.S. Department of Transportation signage guidelines. That is the case for the 91 Express Lanes and should be the case for the Metro ExpressLanes as all vehicles including HOV's must have FasTrak with the car registered with a FasTrak tolling agency.

Only HOT lanes that support free non-transponder carpooling where only solo drivers must register should have the statement that reads "HOV 2+ NO TOLL" according to the feds. That would be the case for the I-15 Express Lanes in San Diego County and the HOT lane network in the Bay Area.

Metrolink also needs to move beyond the outdated 9-5 Monday-Friday Downtown employee market. The only trains growing ridership are Inland Empire-Orange County and weekend trains. Metrolink needs to be an all-day, evening and weekend Regional Rail system, like Chicago's Metra, to grow ridfership. Perhaps a regional rail and suburban bus tax is the answer?
-Phantom Commuter/TTC Transit Talking Points

With the economy and working salaries the way they are combined with record fuel tax receipts at the federal level, I cannot support endorsing a new tax, but I certainly support better fiscal efficiency of the system and more involvement from the private sector. In fairness, I wouldn't oppose maintaining the existing local transit funding tax programs such as RCTC's Measure A and LA's Measure R.

The Transit Coalition does envision to increase Metrolink train frequencies in the Southland to 30 minutes between trains, including late at night and weekends, through our Metrolink MAX campaign with through service at L.A. Union Station.

Transportation Tip with the Three Feet for Safety Act:

Effective last Tuesday, California drivers must stay at least 3 feet away from bicyclists when passing them. Several states have similar laws on their books for good reason, safety. The CHP has released these tips for both bicycle riders and drivers:
  • Expect People Bicycling on the Roadway. Bicyclists have the right to use all roads except those from which they are officially excluded.
  • Reduce Your Speed. When passing bicyclists - slow down. Air pressure from vehicles passing bicyclists, especially trucks and buses, can “push” a bicyclist over just by the wind created by passing at high speed.
  • Look for People Bicycling. When preparing to enter the roadway or make a turn, look carefully for oncoming bicyclists. Many bicyclists are capable of speeds in excess of 25 miles per hour.
  • Give at Least Three Feet. Do not overtake or pass a person bicycling too closely. California law requires a standard minimum distance of three feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its operator.
  • Have Patience. Be aware that when a lane is too narrow for vehicles and bikes to be safely side by side, bicyclist should ride in or near the center of that lane to discourage motorists from unsafe passing.

These tips are for the cyclists:
  • Go With the Traffic Flow. Ride on the right in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic. Go with the flow – not against it.
  • Obey All Traffic Laws. Stop at red lights and stop signs and yield to pedestrians.
  • Be Predictable. Ride in a straight line, not swerving in and out between parked cars. Signal your moves to motorists, other bicyclists, and pedestrians to let them know what to expect.
  • Increase Your Visibility. Wear fluorescent or brightly colored clothing during the day, dawn, and dusk. When you ride at night, you must have a white headlight and red lights or reflectors on the back of your bike, white or yellow reflector on each pedal or a bicyclist’s shoe or ankles, and side reflectors (unless the bicycle is equipped with reflectorized tires.). (CVC 21201)
  • Stay Alert at All Times. Use your eyes and ears. Watch out for potholes, cracks, wet leaves, storm grates, railroad tracks, or anything that could make you lose control and fall. To be able to listen for dangerous situations, do not use headphones or earplugs in both ears while riding. (CVC 27400)
  • Look Before Turning. When turning or changing lanes, always look behind you for a break in traffic, signal, and then check again before making the turn. As you approach intersections, be aware of the people behind, beside, and in front of you who may try to cross your path. Watch out for left or right-turning traffic; these are the most frequent motorist-caused bicycle crashes.
  • Watch for Parked Cars. Ride far enough out from the curb to avoid the unexpected from parked cars (drivers may pull out in front of you or open a door in your path.)
  • Give and Get Respect. Allow faster traffic to pass when it’s safe; avoid needlessly blocking the road.

1 comment:

  1. While CVC 21760 is nice, let's remember that it basically invalidates itself. But the real issue is that it creates a catch-22 on the streets: don't hit the bikes (21760), but they're going to be in the way (21202). That can be a real problem when volume of bikes goes up from just one per hour, highlighting the importance of just-signed AB 1193 in allowing agencies to better configure the street network for optimal use.

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