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tv   Beyond the Headlines  ABC  May 12, 2013 10:00am-10:31am PDT

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welcome to "beyond the headlines," i'm cheryl jennings. do you get road rage or try to race for the yellow light? some of us do, but we have to remember the imporaring a r sharing a road and doing it safely. today we're learning how some local residents are helping to
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keep us safe on bay area roads. a 2010 statistic show more than 600 pedestrians, this is a sad number, were killed in california that year with more than 12,000 injured. more than 300 motorcyclists were killed, and nearly 10,000 injured, and that same year, 111 cyclists were killed. those numbers are frightening. here with us to help us, from the california highway patrol, officer dan ruiz. i want to start with the most common violations you see. >> i work out of marine county. most common violations we see, obviously, speed. some violations people don't think of, is following too close. >> what's your measure of following too close? >> well, we've all been taught the three-second rule, you
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should be three seconds behind the car that's ahead of you for whatever speed you're going. >> then you see people, you leave that gap and somebody whips in there. >> that does happen. that's kind of a subjective one, but there are people you can tell, definitely tell when you're being tailgated. when i see it, if you are a car length or two behind somebody going at freeway speeds, you're too close. if they have to hit the brakes really quick, you're not going to be able to stop in time. >> you talked about speed. the speed limit is usually 55, 65, are you allowed to go a certain percentage over that that's legal? >> no. >> not 15%? >> the state maximum speed limit is 55 miles an hour on a two-lane county road and 65 on a multi-lane road, so, if you're going 66 miles an hour, that's a violation. you know, there's -- >> wow. >> there's no gray area there. >> okay. distracted driving, i see this all the time. i've almost been hit by people texting or reading e-mails while
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driving. i look in my rearview mirror and see people looking down like this trying to drive. is that one of the worst things or many things? >> one of the many things. i see that. i caught a woman actually reading her e-mail while driving down 101 holding her phone up here. the reason i started paying attention to her is i thought she was a dui driver the way she was moving around the lane, then i saw she was holding her phone up to her face reading her e-mail while she was driving. distracted driving is one of many violations that we run across. >> you have one great example of a woman that you gave a ticket to, who took a phone call and didn't hear your siren behind her. >> that's correct. any police officer can attest to this, there are times you're behind somebody who you're trying to stop because they are talking on the phone and you can be behind them for a while and they won't realize you're behind them with all of your lights on, because they are so engrossed in their phone call. that's an example of one of the reasons why it's a distraction while you drive. you need to be completely aware
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of your surroundings while driving a 1,000 or 2,000-pound piece of metal down the road. if you're so engrossed in your phone call you don't see a vehicle behind you with their lights on, you're probably also going to miss a kid running out in front of you chasing a ball into a street or bicyclist in front of you or car stopped in front of you. that's one of the reasons we enforce that law. >> cell phones and stoplight, people think that it's okay to look down when you're at a red light. >> incorrect. recently been some case law to affirm this, even if you're stopped at a red light, when you're looking down at your phone, you're still operating a motor vehicle. car's in gear, foots on the brake, hopefully you're paying some attention to traffic, you're still operating the vehicle and subject to a citation if you're looking down at your phone, reading a message, or talking on your phone while waiting at a red light.
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i'm sure we've all had the experience of being stuck behind somebody at a green light who's looking down at their phone or on the phone not paying any attention to what's going on behind them. >> we have about 20 seconds left, what's the best advice for people to be safe on the roads? >> just look beyond your hood. look at what's ahead of you. drive carefully, drive defensively, and, you know, be prepared for anything. >> pay attention. >> absolutely, pay attention. >> thank you so much, officer. we really appreciate it. more information, chp has a twitter site, which we'll post on our website. we do have to take a break. in a moment, more from a motorcycle riding
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welcome back to "beyond the headlines," i'm cheryl jennings. we've beeny talking about bay area traffic laws and how to be safe on the road. according to a highway patrol report, motorcyclists are roughly 28 times more likely to die in a collision than occupants of other vehicles. major cause of these accidents is confusion about something called lane splitting. the chp produced this public service announcement to help. >> stuck in traffic again. like i always do. >> stop and go. i was only going slightly faster than traffic. sudden bang. i had no time to react. i didn't even see him. >> we all want to get home. lane splitting is allowed in california if done safely.
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drivers, check twice for motorcycles. riders, give yourself time to react. getting home safe is a shared responsibility. >> good information. joining me in the studio right now, he created a website called lanesplittingislegal.com. i love the t-shirt. gets the message across. >> thank you. >> you've been riding for awhile, you've seen this, there are good riders and not so good rider. >> i've been riding for a long time. the chp sees guidelines about lane splitting and i wanted to be helpful in the word from the chp. >> when i hear that phrase, i know because somebody told me that, but for people who don't know, what does that mean? >> lane splitting is riding between cars in slow or stopped traffic. you also hear words lane sharing or filtering. they all are slight differences, but they are all basically the same thing, riding between cars. >> the chp's guidelines on this,
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can you tell us what they are? >> sure, they are sensible guidelines, a lot of riders have been adhering for a long time without them being published. don't split quickly in fast traffic. don't split if traffic's moving more than 30 miles an hour, be safe and cautious. on the driver's side, the guidelines included language about it's illegal to impede a rider who's lane splitting, and it's illegal to open a door on a rider who's lane splitting. these are welcome to those in the riding community to prevent aggressive behavior towards riders. >> i bet you had aggressive behavior directed to you towards riders. >> occasionally. i've been riding for 25 years or so, but honestly, most of the behavior we take as aggressive is more likely to be inattentive behavior that we take offense as riders. >> i have seen people try to nudge their car up when they see people coming up.
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instead of being gracious, they try to block the rider. >> sure, sure. i wanted to help get the word out this is legal and okay and safe and prevent some of that. >> now, it's important for all of us during commute hours, because i know you've got some good numbers on this, right? >> sure. lane splitting reduces congestion. there's a really great study that was done in europe that even a small percentage of folks on bikes would reduce overall congestion. >> wow, significantly, huh? how many riders do you think out there? >> i don't know. there's a lot of riders in the bay area. very active motorcycle community. >> i've also seen riders who are very cautious about protecting themselves with the gear, too. >> we call that ad-gat. all the gear, all the time. i commute rain or shine and wear full gear head to toe to protect myself in the unlikely event i might go down. >> i've seen t-shirts, cutoffs, flip-flops riding. >> no good. >> i've seen stickers, too, on
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your website and i have to show these to folks at home. this is a sticker you want motorcyclists to have? >> yes, we did thousands of stickers and distributed them free at bike shops around the bay area. there's a lot floating around on bikes already and cars, tool boxes, what have you, and they are available at the website, as well. >> you did this all on your own time to do this as a service to the community. >> my lovely wife did the sticker design and the rest is spare time work on my part. >> are you getting good response from people? >> absolutely, yes. we've had traffic coming in from readit.com, the response is very good. i just posted an interview with mark pope, who is sergeant of the chp and is kind of the mouthpiece for the chp. >> we hope to help you get the word out. thank you so much for what you're doing. >> glad to be here. we do have to take another break, but coming up in a moment, we're going to talk about what helps makes our cities more bicycle friendly. stay with u
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welcome back to "beyond the headlines," i'm cheryl jennings. according to a recent study, more than 100,000 bay area residents use a bicycle as their primary means of getting to work every day, and more than a million bay area residents live within five miles of their workplace, which is an ideal distance for y, though, unfortunately, though, negligence by motorists and cyclists can cause devastating accidents. for example, several bicyclists were killed in 2012, abc transportation reporter found this report in august about a ride to mourn the victims and bring attention to road safety to all. >> reporter: the ride to mourn, the most recentatality fatality tuesday on fountain grove parkway at thomas lake harris drive. 37-year-old ruben hernandez was out for an early morning drive. hernandez was a p.e. teacher at a charter school. he was here for a school conference. mark solivinoff's 14-year-old
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son alexander had an accident at this same intersection two years ago. they say it's a poorly engineered intersection to handle both traffic and bikes. >> this is definitely a spot that when i ride here, when we ride here, we feel a little vulnerable and uncomfortable. >> sometimes people are really, really nice and give you room, but a lot of the time they'll blow right by you and it's like, come on. >> reporter: they know this intersection is dangerous, but the five fatalities have happened all across the county under different circumstances. >> it's hard to identify a reason that it's been happening this summer, but what is true is that it's very clear, it sends a clear message that we need to work together in our community to improve road safety. >> reporter: loretta was injured when a car pulled out in front of her. >> life is a risk and you have to decide which risk you're going to take. yeah, you have less protection on a bike, but you have all the other benefits. and for me, those benefits
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outweigh the risk. >> i really want people to think about everybody who they encounter on the road as somebody who they might know and somebody they should care about, so that when we are out there, we're eliminating distractions. >> reporter: hernandez, the victim from tuesday, leaves behind a wife and a 2-year-old daughter. in santa rosa, abc 7 news. >> such a tough situation. well, joining me in the studio right now is leah sham, executive director of the san francisco bicycle coalition. i want to thank you for being here. you said you rode to the studio today on your bicycle. >> absolutely. it's the easiest way to get around san francisco. >> you see a lot of this, the good and the bad. >> that's right. the great is we're seeing more and more people choosing to bicycle. in san francisco alone, there's been an increase of 71% of trips by bike in the last five years. and that's really growing. we're working hard people are more aware of safety on the
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road. >> and you have a goal you're trying to reach? >> the city placed a goal of 20% trips by bicycle by 2020. we think we can get there. >> how do you keep peace between motorcyclists and bicyclists? >> i think there's a lot more sharing of the road and understanding as more people bicycle or motorcycle in particular and walking, i think there's more understanding that everyone out there on the road could be your neighbor, could be your teacher, could be your friend at work, everyone out there is someone who's getting around either by biking, walking, driving, all people on the road. i think it's really important to help people remember to be civil, respectful, no matter how they are moving around. >> how many people do you have in your coalition? >> 12,000 members in the san francisco bicycle coalition and there's coalitions throughout the bay area. strongly encourage people to join and get involved. what we're really working to do is connect the city, trying to help make family friendly comfortable safe bikeways from every neighborhood and commercial corridor and transit
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district so people that want to ride have the choice to do so safely and comfortable. >> how do you get the information out? >> sfbike.org. we have free bicycle education classes for adults and children, urban cycling tips on the road and have bike to work day in may, bike to school day in april and help people try bicycling as a way to get around. for much of the bay area, distances are short, most people can get to work or the market or dinner pretty short distance, so we want to encourage think about trading a car trip for a bike trip. >> you said you talk about safer bike riding and tips. what are some tips? >> most importantly, you want to ride a bicycle yopredictably. you don't want to be surprising anyone. always be watching out for pedestrians. that's our number one message. stop at the stop sign, crosswalk, the light. of course, light up your bike at night so that you're visible. >> we know as more people are riding the roads also get safer.
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there's a real safety in numbers there, so we're thrilled more and more people are choosing the bike and to do so safely. >> when you say safely, i know with the motorcyclists, wearing the gear, how about bicyclists? >> little less gear needed, but i ride with my helmet, of course, have bike lights to make sure i'm visible at night. it's wonderful, one of the great things about biking in the bay area, we have a temperate climate, as you know. i can ride with my regular work clothes, my skirt, high heels, shirt today. >> that must have been a sight to see. >> we add style on the roads with our bikes. it's great you don't need a lot of extra gear in the bay area. >> in terms of sharing the road and watching out for motorists, for example, i've seen some bicyclists have mirrors so they can see behind them. do you recommend that? >> i think that's great folks are aware of their surroundings. in our communities, there's not a lot of extra space, so we do
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need to share the road and be respectful and to slow down and be aware. and i bicycle bicycle riding, but i have seen bicycles run through the stop signs and stoplights, and then people have to come to a screeching halt. i worry about that. >> i think unfortunately we have folks who move around in all modes, whether driving or can b and be problematic. we want to encourage people to be respectful and to be really aware of their surroundings and safe with each other. >> the website again? >> sfbike sfbikes.org. >> thank you. >> thank you. we do have to take another break. when we come back, we learn how a local organization is working to keep bay area streets safer for pedestrians. stay with u
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welcome back to "beyond the headlines," i'm cheryl jennings. we've been talking about sharing the road and how to travel safely, whether you're riding in a vehicle or motorcycle, a
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bicycle, or walking. everywhere in the bay area, people sadly are hit by cars every day. now, this may mean more stop signs and traffic lights. city officials are trying to cut down on the pedestrians accidents. so far this year, there have been six pedestrian fatalities just on san francisco streets, and that is on pace to surpass last year. one of the problem areas is around float avenue in the parkside district. a high school student killed there this year. supervisor norman yee represents that area. transportation officials say a lack of stop signs contributes to pedestrian fatalities. >> when collisions occur in those streets, they are more likely to result in a fatal if vehicles weren't traveling at speeds in an area that is more dense. >> and the city is also looking at implementing turn restrictions on cars, giving pedestrians more time to cross the street. i would love that. i don't think there's ever enough time to cross the street. got to hurry.
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joining me in the studio is elizabeth stamp, executive director of "walk san francisco." seems the name would be obvious, but tell me about it. >> walk san francisco works on making it more safe and pleasant for people to walk in san francisco. >> you can just sign up and get this cool t-shirt? >> yeah, our members get these wonderful t-shirts. >> is there a fee for that? >> yeah, being a member means contributing to support the organization, and we have tripled our membership in the last couple years, so, it's a growing movement. >> how many people do you have? >> about 700 now. >> wow, okay. why do you think it's so important to have a group for pedestrians? >> in san francisco, even though it's one of really the world's most walkable cities, about three people a day get hit by cars. most people don't know that, and, obviously, that's way too many. so, we work on helping the city to fix the streets to make it safer for people to walk and also with the police to enforce the laws that keep you safe in
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the crosswalk. >> and some of the things that people need to know about if you do get hit by a car, we want to share that information with folks right now on the screen. we want to let them know the information and we're waiting for the next screen to come up. get the driver's information and call the police, of course, and accept medical treatment. some people don't want to do that, but you never know if you've fallen and hit your head, right? >> that's right. it's best to be safe. one thing that a lot of people don't know about pedestrian rights is every intersection is a legal crosswalk, whether there's one painted on the ground or not. so, i think often drivers don't realize when someone's crossing at a corner, that person crossing has the right of way and they need to yield. >> what is the rule if you're in the crosswalk or approaching it, what should people do? >> we should all be sharing the road and drivers need to know if a pedestrian is about to cross, they really need to be aware of the folks on the sidewalks, as
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well as in the road, because once the person is in the road, it may be too late. driving at a reasonable speed and paying attention to the people around you will keep everyone safe. >> elizabeth, what are some of the other ways we can make things safer for pedestrians? >> well, we're excited that the mayor has released a new plan to make san francisco safer, focusing on the most dangerous streets in the city and, again, enforcing the laws that keep us all safe. >> all right. we have some great pictures that we want to show people who have been involved in walk san francisco. what are we looking at here? >> right here, this is the first 15 school hour school zone in san francisco and walk sf did a campaign that last year made san francisco the first city in the state to put up 181 of these school zones all across the city to help kids walk to school more safely, there's the mayor in his t-shirt, and he's very proud, also, of having made the streets safer. >> well, that's quite historic.
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yeah. so, what are the other -- this is one of the intersections. this is one of the biggest problems i see when people are supposed to stop and not block the intersection. that's a big problem for pedestrians. >> you can see these folks, one is in a wheelchair have to weave through cars. it's dangerous and hard for people to see each other. we need the cars to stay back and yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. >> are you looking for volunteers? >> always. yeah, we have events that we're doing, there's walk to work day in april. san francisco became the first city in the nation to launch that. we have walk to school day, which we have a picture here, that's every october. and we have peak-to-peak, which is a hike of 12 to 14 miles over ten peaks that is -- >> wow. >> yeah, it's a big walk, all in san francisco, but very civilized. you can have a cup of coffee any time, and we need volunteers to help with all those. here we have a sticker from walk to work day. >> this is great. if you want to sign up, it's as
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easy as -- >> going to walksf.org and becoming a member. >> elizabeth, thank you so much. i'm going to be signing up for that myself. all right, and that is all the time we have for today. special thanks to all our guests. for more information about today's program, go to our website, abc7news.com. we're also on facebook and twitter. i'm cheryl jennings, have a great week. we'll see you next time. bye for now. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com
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