For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Eli Cooper, Transportation Program Manager, 734.794.6430 ext. 43710, ECooper@A2Gov.org
SAFE-TRAVEL REMINDERS FOR ANN ARBOR PEDESTRIANS, CYCLISTS, AND MOTORISTS
ANN ARBOR, Mich., Sept 5, 2012 — With the return of students to classrooms this fall, the flow of traffic will increase along Ann Arbor’s busy streets, bike lanes and sidewalks. This is good timing for reminders about the rules of sharing the road and sidewalks. Such as …
- Texting while driving is illegal in Michigan. Common sense also guides us that texting and using earphones while walking and biking also pose risks while traveling in a bustling city like ours.
- Pedestrians have the right to expect vehicles to stop when they are using crosswalks, but pedestrians also have to be realistic and wait for motorists to acknowledge and stop before crossing a street. Likewise, motorists need to remember to be watchful, and stop for pedestrians and bicyclists in crosswalks and at the curb waiting to cross the street. Motorists may not pass another vehicle pausing at a crosswalk.
To provide a safe community for all modes of transportation, the City of Ann Arbor also has the following reminders for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.
If you use sidewalks ... You're in luck! Ann Arbor has 475 miles of sidewalks and over 157 parks. Ann Arbor was named a gold-level Walk Friendly Community in 2010. Over 15 percent of Ann Arbor residents walk to work, which is more than six times the national average. Please keep in mind:
- Cross at the appropriate spot. Ann Arbor ordinance requires that motorists stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, which are the safest points to cross. Some crosswalks have a pedestrian refuge island midway in the street. Cross easily and safely, one side of traffic at a time.
- Look both ways before entering the street. Be sure to give drivers enough time to see you and stop.
- Use the signals. In Ann Arbor's downtown, all traffic signals include a pedestrian crossing interval. Outside the downtown area, some signals have a pedestrian call button which, when pressed, adds a pedestrian crossing interval.
- Be visible. In the dark, wear light-colored clothing and reflective gear to ensure your visibility.
If you’re a cyclist …You've come to a great city! Ann Arbor was named the 14th most bike-friendly city in America by Bicycling Magazine in 2010. Ann Arbor has 38 miles of on-road bicycle lanes, 55 miles of shared-use paths, and six miles of roads marked with shared-use arrows.
- Follow the rules of the road. Ride on the road when possible, and use bike lanes where present. Ride in the direction of traffic, even in bike lanes; obey all traffic signals; and use hand signals before stopping and turning.
- Yield to pedestrians. If you choose to ride on the sidewalk, consider yourself an invited guest in the pedestrian space. Ride slowly, announce your presence to pedestrians who may not see you, walk your bike on crowded sidewalks, and always yield to pedestrians.
- Lights on. Ann Arbor law requires cyclists to use front headlights and rear reflectors after dark.
- Wear a helmet. Your brain is a precious asset; protect it.
If you're a Driver ... To de-stress your journey, subscribe to online notices of road and lane closures at www.a2gov.org/subscribe. Even if you drive everywhere, you are a pedestrian at some point of your day. Help keep our streets safe for everyone:
- Stop on red. Yellow lights mean slow down, not speed up. Traffic crashes are a significant cause of preventable death and injury in the U.S., and your next destination is probably not worth risking your life or those of others.
- Stop for pedestrians. Ann Arbor law requires drivers to stop for pedestrians at the curb adjacent to or in crosswalks. Drivers should be alert and watch out for pedestrians crossing or walking along the roadway. Please stay alert and be prepared to stop.
- Don't pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks. You cannot see if a pedestrian is in the street while you are driving around a stopped vehicle.
- Stay out of bike lanes. It is illegal for cars to drive or park in bike lanes. This is also true for turning traffic: Always make your turn from a vehicle lane.
- Watch for bikes and give them space. Bicyclists are legally entitled to ride in the road whether a bike lane exists or not. Always check for bikes when turning and before opening your door. Pass cyclists carefully, providing 3–4 feet of space between your car and the cyclist. On two-lane roads, pass only when the road is clear of oncoming traffic and you can swing wide enough to pass safely.
- Take care near buses. Watch for transit riders getting off buses.
- Don’t drive distracted. Texting while driving is illegal in Michigan. Over 25 percent of traffic crashes involve driver distraction. Be cautious of cell phone use while driving, too.
These tips and other useful links are posted online at www.a2gov.org/WalkBikeDrive
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