That means improving safety for everyone: people walking, biking, taking transit, and driving Safety on our streets is everybody’s responsibility. People can be distracted or unpredictable, and everyone makes mistakes, but they shouldn’t result in severe injury or death. All traffic collisions are preventable, and as professional drivers, you play a large role Other driver look to you as an example and vulnerable road users depend on you to keep them safe This training will give you the tools you need to drive safely on city streets.
We’re counting on you! The world outside your cab is chaotic so keep a calm environment in your vehicle. And don’t react to people behaving badly. A recent survey asked hundreds of professional vehicle drivers about safe city driving. What did they say? Watch for distracted and unsafe behavior. Slow down. Be patient. And check for people before you turn. The facts about city driving show how important it is always to be alert.
You might be surprised— most collisions happen in daylight, in good weather, and while people are going straight. What’s the take way? Slow down. Even at 25 miles per hour, it takes a vehicle 85 feet to stop – that’s almost seven car lengths. Slowing down makes collisions less severe. When a person is hit by a passenger vehicle going 20 miles per hour, the chance of death is 5%. If the same vehicle is going 40 miles per hour, that chance of death increases to 85%.
Slowing down doesn’t cost much time. Driving behind a person on a bike for a block takes about 9 extra seconds. Stopping at a yellow light takes only 30 extra seconds. But hitting someone could cost you hours, days, weeks or your job, not to mention a life. So, when you feel rushed, take a deep breath and take your time. Cities across America are redesigning their streets to make them safer for walking and biking. Some of these new street designs might look confusing.
Here’s what you need to know. All intersections are crosswalks, even if they’re not marked. Some crosswalks are marked with thick lines to make them more visible. Other crosswalks and intersections are raised to the level of the sidewalk to act as a speed bump and to warn drivers to expect people crossing. Be cautious and watch for people when you approach any intersection. Advance limit lines, yield lines, shark’s teeth, and pedestrian yield signs show drivers where people will cross, and where to stop to keep space clear.
Stop behind these lines at red lights, stop signs, and whenever a person is crossing. Pull outs, where the sidewalk extends into the street, make it easier to see pedestrians and for them to see you. They also help drivers remember to slow down when making right turns. Watch for people on sidewalk extensions who may be closer to moving traffic than you expect. Also, be aware that bicyclists may move to the left to get around pull outs. Leading interval signals give people walking a head start before the light turns green for vehicle traffic.
Allowing pedestrians to enter the crosswalk before traffic starts moving makes them more visible. Pedestrian scrambles stop vehicle traffic in all directions at an intersection and allow people to cross in any direction—including diagonally. Pedestrian scrambles are often paired with no-right-on-red restrictions. Rapid flashing beacons turn very bright when the pedestrian button is pressed or when the sensor is activated. Proceed slowly as you approach the flashing yellow beacon especially if the beacon has been activated. A pedestrian crossing light turns flashing yellow, and then solid yellow before turning solid red.
When it turns back to flashing red, you may proceed after making a full stop if the crosswalk is empty. Proceed with caution through the flashing yellow and red lights, and of course stop whenever the light is solid red. Traffic circles help slow traffic and reduce conflicts. You must stop at the stop sign before entering an intersection with a traffic circle and proceed around the right-hand side of the circle. Watch for people in crosswalks and for people on bikes coming around the circle.
Arrows indicate where people on bikes share the lane with vehicles. They also show where people biking should ride to avoid colliding with open doors. But remember: people on bikes have the right to use the lane whether there is an arrow. Bike lanes are exclusively for people biking: they can be unprotected, buffered, or protected by parked cars or a curb. Stay out of protected or separated bike lanes unless there’s an emergency. Dashed bike lanes indicate a mixing zone where vehicles may enter the bike lane to turn or change lanes. Reverse-flow bike lanes allow cyclists to travel in the opposite direction as vehicles near them. They’re usually physically separated from other traffic. Some bike lanes are elevated, built at a level that is higher than the street, but lower than the sidewalk.
They provide a safe, separated space for cyclists, away from vehicles. Bike box areas are marked with a bike stencil at intersections. They act as advanced limit lines for vehicles. These areas provide space for people on bikes to gather at the front of a line of vehicles waiting at a red light. This increases their visibility to drivers. People biking will ride past stopped vehicles to get to the bike box at the front of the intersection.
Give them some room—you should stop short of the limit line behind the bike box and cross the line only after the light turns green and people on bikes have cleared the bike box. Bicycle traffic signals provide separate phases for bicycle and vehicle traffic allowing people on bikes to proceed while vehicles are stopped. Be aware of these bike signals but stay focused on the vehicle signal. Only advance when vehicles have a green light and the intersection is clear. Okay, let’s take a short quiz to see what you’ve learned so far. Ready? Here we go… Number One: when do most collisions happen? Did you say: “In daylight?” You’re correct! Question Two: if an intersection is NOT marked, is it still a crosswalk? Yes! Did you get it right? Great job.
One more before we go on: What’s one of the best things to do to avoid collisions? You know it—take a breath, pay attention, and slow down. Here are some basic principles for driving near people. From your driver’s seat, it can be difficult to see people walking or bicycling. Adjust your mirrors properly to reduce blind spots. People walking, or bicycling may appear unexpectedly— be prepared to stop or maneuver quickly to avoid a collision. Give yourself plenty of time to react and look up the street for people ahead.
Look out! Scan the road from building to building, not just curb to curb. Check sidewalks, alleys, side streets, driveways, and behind parked vehicles for people who may enter your path. Turning vehicles are especially dangerous for people walking and collisions often occur when vehicles are making turns. When you turn, remember: Check for people using the crosswalk you are about to enter before starting your turn. Watch for people on bikes traveling in the oncoming direction who may be blocked by vehicles. Always check your mirrors and blind spots! Patience pays off, take a moment to make sure you’re clear. While it might feel like you can save time by driving fast, making a light, turning without checking, or passing without proper space, you won’t.
Safe driving only adds a few seconds to your trip; a collision can cost you your job or someone their life. Here are some important things to remember about people walking: All intersections are legal crosswalks and pedestrians have the right of way. People may cross the street anywhere. Children, seniors and people with disabilities are the most vulnerable on city streets. Give buses and streetcars lots of space and watch for people boarding in the street or running to catch a bus or train. Don’t block the box. Do everything you can to avoid stopping in intersections or crosswalks.
This creates dangerous situations for people walking, who are forced into moving traffic, and for people biking, who may be forced out of a bike lane. And here are some important things to remember about people on bikes. Most city streets are legal bicycling streets even if they have no markings or signs.
People biking can fall in front of you, so always keep a safe distance behind them. Provide a safe amount of space when passing someone on a bike—a minimum of three feet whenever possible is required by law in many states, including California. People on bikes prefer to be in the bike lane. If they’re not in the bike lane, it’s often to avoid hazards or make a turn. Give them room until they can get where they are going. People on bikes are taught to ride closer to traffic to avoid being hit or forced into moving traffic by someone opening a car door. Whew, that was a close one! Expect to see people on bikes filter to the front of the line of vehicles stopped at an intersection, ride beside vehicles, and pass on the right.
A tap of the horn may be useful to make your presence known to someone on a bike but avoid using the horn unnecessarily. You could startle them and cause them to lose control and fall, or they might ride in an unsafe manner just to avoid you. Vehicles making right turns are especially dangerous for bicyclists, so always: Approach right turns properly, signal early and wait for people bicycling to clear the intersection. Move as far to the right as practical before turning so that people on bikes can pass on the left. Let’s try a few more questions.
Who are the most vulnerable people on city streets? Children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Why do people on bikes ride close to traffic? To avoid car doors. What is one of the most dangerous situations for people walking and riding bikes? Turning vehicles. And what can YOU do to make sure everyone stays safe in any situation? That’s right—stay patient, stay alert, and of course…slow down.
Stopping to pick up or drop off passengers on crowded city streets presents a special set of challenges. Whenever you’re parking, picking up or dropping off, keep these tips in mind: Always check for people in your mirrors and blind spots. Open the driver’s side door with your right hand. This will cause you to look to your left for people biking past your vehicle. Never pick up or drop off in a marked crosswalk and avoid stopping at the intersection for people across the street. Only use bike lanes for pickups or drop offs upon customer request and only if there are no other safe locations nearby. Before passengers exit your cab, remind them to look to make sure it is clear before they open their door. Know where loading zones are and use them as your first option. If no loading zones are available, use side streets or open parking spaces. Avoid stopping in bike lanes and never in transit lanes.
Taxis have very special rules for separated bike lanes, which are always the last option. You may only pick up in a separated bike lane if the dispatcher tells you that the customer is disabled and must be picked up at a location that is next to a separated bike lane. If you have disabled or elderly customers who require direct access to the curb you may use the separated lane to drop off. In these rare occasions, enter the protected bike lane at the beginning of the block, drive very slowly, and exit at the other end of the block. Using this lane for other stops will result in an expensive ticket.
Bad weather and difficult driving conditions like rain, snow, fog, or low lighting make it hard to see and stop. Your vehicle is also more likely to slide or lose control in wet or icy conditions. Weather conditions can also create issues for people walking and biking, as they try to avoid puddles, slippery areas and large umbrellas. Train tracks, grates, and construction plates get slippery in wet weather and may cause people walking and bicycling to fall. The safest thing you can do in difficult conditions, whether it’s wet or icy or dark, is to slow down and drive even more carefully.
Remember, going fast might only save you a few seconds; speeding could cost you your job or worse, a life. Traffic deaths and severe injuries happen far too often, and people walking, and biking are especially vulnerable. People can be distracted or make unsafe decisions, so as a professional driver the responsibility for safety lies with you. A collision could mean the loss of your license or your job and dealing with the legal implications could take years and an emotional toll if someone is killed or injured in a crash.
Help us achieve Vision Zero! Let’s make sure everyone can use our streets safely. Thank you for watching, and for following these important safe driving tips. Remember, we’re counting on you!
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