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Traffic safety campaign kicks off

By Michael Bolden

Maryland, Northern Virginia and the District are kicking off an annual pedestrian and cyclist safety campaign today.

Law enforcement throughout the region plan to gather in Rosslyn to roll out the Street Smart program, part of an effort to increase awareness and reduce pedestrian- and cyclist-related deaths. According to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, there were 78 pedestrian and cyclist deaths in the Washington region in 2009, accounting for 27 percent of all traffic-related fatalities.

As part of the effort, Arlington police are conducting two targeted enforcement sweeps along Wilson Boulevard today to encourage pedestrians and drivers to follow traffic laws. The first occurred this morning from 7 to 9 a.m., and the second is scheduled from 12 to 1 p.m.

Authorities from around the region are expected to gather around 12:30 p.m.

By Michael Bolden  | November 9, 2010; 9:31 AM ET
Categories:  Traffic Safety  
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Good news. Safety is everyone's business.

Posted by: krickey7 | November 9, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I'm impressed that the city is making pedestrian and bicyclist safety a priority. But I am very concerned with a recent initiative on metrobus.

I live in a quiet, residential neighborhood with 3 elementary schools within 1 block of a bus route. The bus has recently begun making (very loud) announcements as it is turning to alert pedestrians that there is a turning bus. The noise is alarming and disturbing to our quiet neighborhood, especially late at night and early in the morning. But primarily, I am concerned that the talking bus is taking the onus of safe driving and pedestrian safety off the bus driver and putting it on the pedestrians (most of whom are children).

My intersection is a no turn on red intersection, meaning that whenever the bus is turning, the pedestrian has the walk sign and the right of way. Rather than making announcements telling pedestrians to watch out for the bus, the bus drivers should be stopping and allowing the pedestrians to cross safely.

Knowing their bus is making an announcement, bus drivers may become complacent and decrease their vigilance.

Posted by: kk76 | November 9, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

kk76, bus drivers do not have to follow traffic laws. Do you believe in Slavery?

Posted by: getjiggly1 | November 9, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I recently rode on one of these "talking" buses and it was pretty annoying. The annoucement would go off any time the buses wheels angled (i.e. changing lanes or pulling over to a bus stop) not just when making a turn.

That being said, I do like this idea. While yes a bus is suppose to yield the right of way to the pedestrian, it's a lot harder for a bus to stop it's momentum than a pedestrian. I'd rather have to stop and let the bus pass than get hit by a bus. There are also many times when a bus and pedestrian get to a crosswalk at the same time, and it may not be obvious to the pedestrian the bus is turning. This safety feature will also be useful to the blind.

But I seriously hope they change the programming so that the announcement only goes off if the wheels turn more than 45 degrees.

Posted by: lagriesbauer | November 9, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Any legitimate safety program is preceded by potential cost/benefit estimates and I'm sorry, but this one just doesn't have potential.

My original point was that the announcement may lead the bus drivers to complacency by putting the onus on the pedestrians. lagriesbauer, your comment contributes to that misguided thinking, by arguing that the bus's momentum requires the pedestrian to yield. The same would be true in any intersection a pedestrian navigates regardless of the type of vehicle. This is why pedestrians have the right of way. Otherwise the buses, trucks, cars, and even bicyclists would always get to go first.

This initiative boils down to nothing but noise pollution. Cite any study showing benefits of talking buses and I will be glad to consider alternate opinions.

Posted by: kk76 | November 9, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Excellent, perhaps we should start with giving fines to jaywalkers who cross the street whenever, wherever regardless signaling.

The saftery campaign should also start with bikers who openly flaunt traffic laws (redlights, stopsigns etc), then defend their scoffaw like behavior via biking blogs. You want access to the same streets that were built for vehicles? Fine, then you need to act like one and observe the same rules.

Swerving through lanes of traffic like a motorcyclist on crack, in between cars, not signaling, not observing any of the traffic laws, then having the audacity to put the complete onus for their safety on drivers.

Posted by: Nosh1 | November 9, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Kneejerk anti-pedestrian and anti-cyclist slurs duly noted.


Posted by: krickey7 | November 9, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

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