Simply Slowing Down
Summer sure goes by fast. It’s hard to believe summer is already halfway through; and in a few more weeks, we’ll be getting the kids ready for school again. I hope you’ve been finding time to get out and enjoy the weather, maybe taking walks or going on some bike rides to get a little exercise.
Sadly, some people tell me they don’t get out as often as they’d like, because they are afraid of our local drivers. Based on the number of complaints about speeding and other traffic violations we receive here at the Ukiah Police Department, I’d say it’s time for people to slow down.
Although we enjoy a slower pace of life here in Ukiah, some local drivers do not drive as slowly as they should. When they speed, they increase the likelihood that they’ll be involved in a collision with another car, or even a bicyclist or pedestrian. The reality is that we can all help prevent these accidents by simply slowing down, so please slow down while driving, especially near bicycles and pedestrians.
Most experienced cyclists will tell you they ride defensively, because no matter how right they are, a motorist in the wrong can still injure or kill them—especially a speeding motorist. While recent research indicates that helmets reduce the risk of head injuries for cyclists by 63 to 88 percent, the best way to avoid injury is to avoid accidents altogether. So, my advice is to wear a helmet while you’re biking, and please, buy a helmet for your kids!
If you’re looking for ways to teach your kids about bike safety, Walk & Bike Mendocino is a great place to start. Walk & Bike Mendocino is a local non-profit that hosts regular safety events for kids, as well as other bike-related events for the whole family. You can learn more about upcoming events and everything that Walk & Bike Mendocino has to offer by visiting their website at www.walkandbike.org, or following their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WalkBikeMendocino.
If you’re a motorist, please take a moment to recognize that bicycles do not have safety features—no seat belts or crumple zones, no air bags, nothing between the person and the road (except maybe a bike helmet), so please give them a little extra leeway to help ensure their safety.
Sharing the road with a cyclist is simple:
Allow extra space when passing bicyclists. If possible, give a bicyclist at least 3-4 feet of space when passing.
Slow down. Reduce your speed when approaching and passing a bike.
Keep your eyes open. Bikes can be hard to see, especially in your blind spots. Please pay special attention when driving through intersections and while parking.
Be extra cautious around kids on bikes. Expect the unexpected when you see a kid on a bike. Slow down and give them as much room as you safely can.
When people are in a hurry, they rarely think about how deadly speeding can be to them and those around them. When we speed, it’s harder to slow our vehicles enough to steer safely around dangers like an unexpected curve, another vehicle, or a hazardous object in the road. In school zones and residential neighborhoods, speeding makes it more difficult to stop in time for children and other pedestrians crossing the road.
Because speeding dramatically increases the chances of being involved in a crash, our officers strictly enforce speed laws, especially in neighborhoods where residents commonly complain about speeders and in other areas where pedestrians commonly walk along the road and/or cross the road.
If you’re a parent planning to talk with your teen about driving, visit driveithome.org; it’s a great resource to help keep teens safe when driving.
Please help us keep Ukiah safe by simply slowing down.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.