Students are going back to school throughout the Bay Area this month, and the American Automobile Association would like to remind drivers that school zones and neighborhoods which may have been quiet for the summer will soon be flooded with pedestrians, many of whom are children.
The latest study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released Tuesday indicates that over the last decade, nearly one-third of child pedestrian deaths occur after school between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
“More than 330 child pedestrians died in 2013 and 13,000 were injured,” AAA Northern California spokeswoman Cynthia Harris said. “We must remind motorists to slow down and stay alert as kids head back into school.”
Some schools have already started as early as Aug. 12, such as in San Jose and San Mateo, and other schools such as Fremont and Hayward still have about a week left of summer.
AAA stresses the need for motorists to slow down in school zones.
According to the study, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 miles per hour is about two-thirds less likely to be killed than a pedestrian struck at 35 miles per hour.
AAA also suggests that eliminating distractions, especially around these areas, is crucial. A driver taking their eyes off the road doubles their chances of crashing, according to AAA.
AAA also warns parents to teach children awareness and to never to play in, under, or around parked vehicles.
“Many cars now have cameras but it’s important to have a look in all blind spots before reversing,” Harris said.
Teenage drivers are not exempt from after-school accidents, according to the AAA study. More than one in four fatal crashes involving teen drivers occur after school between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Biking is another popular way children are commuting to and from school.
“Give [student bikers] plenty of space, as they’re still young and tend to be a bit unsteady and unpredictable on bicycles,” Harris said.
Parents should also make sure that if their child bikes to school that they wear a properly fitted helmet on every ride. Harris also suggests that for adults who are dropping off or picking up students to avoid being late or rushing.
Bike parking in San Francisco just got more secure with the grand opening Tuesday of a locked bicycle parking station inside the Civic Center BART and Municipal Railway station.
The 90 new enclosed bike parking spots at Civic Center, as well as the 96 existing enclosed bike parking spots at the Embarcadero station, are only accessible to verified users with a BikeLink card.
The access card and user verification process costs $5 and then 3 cents per hour to park.
Robert Raburn, a member of the BART board of directors, said that with this secure bike parking, people will feel confident that when they leave their bike at the station it will be there when they return for it.
“I hope we will have bike stations in every station,” Raburn said.
In the Bay Area, there are already tens of thousands of BikeLink customers, according to Jeffrey Lidicker, a sustainable transportation engineer for BikeLink.
BikeLink is working with regional transportation agencies to expand secure bike parking as many of their bike stations are at capacity already.
Raburn said that by 8 a.m., the secure bike parking at the MacArthur BART station in Oakland is full.
Tom Radulovich, a member of the BART board of directors and executive director of the Livable City organization, which advocates for improved design and maintenance for people walking, cycling and using public transit, said the secure stations are a step in the right direction and allow people to leave their bikes in a secure place all day or all night.
“BART and bikes compliment each other beautifully,” Radulovich said.
However, Radulovich noted that the bike stations would be even more popular if they were Clipper card-compatible. He said he doesn’t know when Clipper cards could be used at the bike stations, but suspected it still might be a number of years away.
In the meantime, a BikeLink card can be purchased online at bikelink.org or via phone at (888) 540-0546. Additionally, the cards are sold at a number of East Bay BART stations and retail establishments around the Bay Area.
Lidicker said BikeLink has developed the technology for “contactless” payment via Clipper and hopes to roll it out to the public as soon as possible, but he didn’t have an estimate for when that might be implemented.
He said the company is also working on a phone-based payment system.
Steve Beroldo, the bike program manager at BART, said that in addition to the 90 secure bike parking spots at Civic Center, there are also 60 new bike parking spots that are accessible for free at the station and do not require a BikeLink access card.
There are now 248 bike parking spots in all at Civic Center, Beroldo said.
Funding for the Civic Center bike parking station came from San Francisco’s Proposition K and Proposition AA, as well as California’s Proposition 1B, according to BART officials.
Construction and upgrade costs at the station were about $650,000, BART officials said.
Beroldo said he hopes all the new parking spots will allow people to leave their bikes at the station, explaining that about a quarter of all the bikes that go on the trains are there because cyclists don’t feel comfortable leaving their bikes at a station.
Today will be cloudy in the morning with patchy fog and possible drizzle. Highs will be in the mid 60s to lower 70s with southwest winds reaching 5 to 15 miles per hour.
Tonight will be mostly cloudy in the evening and then will become cloudy with patchy fog and drizzle after midnight. Lows will be in the upper 50s and southwest winds will reach 10 to 15 miles per hour.
Thursday will be cloudy in the morning with patchy fog and drizzle and then will become partly cloudy. Highs will be in the 60s and southwest winds will reach 5 to 10 miles per hour.
(News Roundup Via Bay City News)