|Paul||S||Dr. Walter Cunningham School for Excellence|
Posts tagged: Cedar Valley
The season for increased bicycle activity has arrived. In Black Hawk County about 200 bicyclist visit hospital emergency rooms every year. There is the danger of head injury. Bicycle helmets are proven to reduce head injuries by 80 percent. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention a lot of bicyclists don’t wear a helmet. Children are more at risk. They have a sense of immortality. Children bicycle related deaths and injuries can be reduced by use of helmets. In Black Hawk County about 50% of the bicycle emergency room visits are people 18 years old and younger.
Intersection of Shaulis Road and IA 21 (Hawkeye Road) in Waterloo recently changed from a 3 leg to a full 4 leg intersection. This location has been experiencing traffic accidents. Crashes have been happening while a driver who is waiting to make a left turn is met by an unsuspecting driver causing a rear-end collision. City of Waterloo and Iowa Department of Transportation are working together to find a solution, possibly adding left turn lanes. Meanwhile please be more careful when going through this intersection.
Safe driving culture is shaped from very early ages. Drive Safe Cedar Valley has included cell phone use in a children’s activity booklet. By the time grade school children become adults the cell phone might have changed as we know it now. The interference of electronic communications with driving, however, will probably be even more complex. Technological advances provide lots of oppurtunities that were unavailable to us many years ago. At the same time they create situations, some of which life threatening, such as texting and driving.
You must yield when making a left turn. This is very much like a solid green ball light for left turners. A driver who is planning to make a left turn must yield to all other traffic who have the right of way such as opposing through traffic and pedestrians. Iowa DOT has more information on their site under “Introducing the flashing yellow left-turn arrow traffic signals” The reason behind it is to remind the motorist that when you are making a permitted left turn you need to yield to oncoming traffic. The green ball indication might confuse some of the drivers into thinking they have the right of way, particularly after a green arrow. Maryland was the first state to use FYA in 2000. They installed many of them. Now, Maryland has banned the FYA.
Where is Waterloo’s most dangerous spot? What intersection has the most number of fatalities? Where is that location where cars collide causing deaths? The answer is nowhere and everywhere. Or perhaps the answer is “inside us”. We are causing our own suffering. Vehicles and roadways have improved drastically. Has the driver improved too?
Almost all of fatal crashes happened at non-intersections. Almost all involved only one vehicle. You would think in a city it happens when two cars collide. In Waterloo, fatalities have been happening at random locations. Law enforcement and engineers concentrate on problem spots. When fatalities happen at random locations there is little they can do.
Is it our driving culture? Why do we have to lose so many people who are simply going from one point to another? Should going from here to there be this dangerous? Should so many lives be lost, more than to wars and to natural disasters? Besides emotional losses, the economical losses to our society are huge. What can we do to make zero fatalities a reality? Are we too distracted? Do we not care? Why do we drink alcohol and drive? One bicycle fatality tested positive for drugs. A pedestrian fatality was possibly due to dark clothes; not visible in the dark. What will it take to make us change our culture? What will it take to make us understand moving around town is a serious business?
We are frequently asked about the meaning of a Red Right Arrow traffic signal indication. Some people mistakenly think they can make a full stop and then proceed carefully if there is no conflicting traffic. A Red Right Arrow means turns on red are not allowed. Drivers must wait until the red arrow indication is off to make their right turn. The only exception is where there is a sign saying that right turn on red is allowed. This is different than the solid ball red light. A solid red ball means right turners can make a right turn on red, unless there is a sign prohibiting it.
Soon a new type of pedestrian signals will be activated on East Orange Road by Hawkeye Community College campus. These signals for vehicles remain blank until someone pushes the pedestrian button. When the signals are flashing red and pedestrians are not crossing, vehicles can go after they have made a full stop. Drivers see the indications shown below.
MEANINGS OF PEDESTRIAN HAWK SIGNAL INDICATIONS
PREPARE TO STOP
STOP, THEN GO IF NO PEDESTRIAN IS CROSSING