Springing forward – stay alert for those biking and walking

It’s that time again – we are springing forward for Daylight Saving Time. On Sunday, March 11, remember to set your clocks an hour ahead and plan for that hour lost. More importantly, be alert for more vulnerable road users out and about in those dawn hours.

With the time change comes danger for those biking and walking in the early hours of the morning, especially for students going to school. One study even found an 8% increase in traffic crashes after the change. Keep in mind that the sun won’t rise in Orange County until 7:38 a.m., more than 15 minutes after high school classes start (7:15 a.m.).

What does this mean for you? If you’re biking or walking in the AM, wear brighter colors and use your bike lights. Understand that drivers are drowsier than normal for at least a week after the change, so be extra cautious and alert.

Drivers, as always, focus on the road and be mindful of those walking and biking in the dark. Let’s work to make sure everyone gets to their destination safely!

Here are some great safety tips from Orange County Mayor Jacobs’ Walk-Ride-Thrive initiative:

Did you know? You can make pedestrian improvement suggestions by calling 311 or through the 311  smartphone app that allows you to photograph, pinpoint and report problems — from potholes to cracks in sidewalks to a lack of pedestrian walking lanes — directly from your smartphone to Orange County’s 311 Service Center.

Driver Tips

  • Stop before turning right on red.
  • Slow down! Speed is the cause of 32 percent of fatal crashes.
  • Stop for pedestrians at intersections and marked crossways.
  • Never pass a driver who is already stopped for a pedestrian.
  • Be alert! No cell phones or earbuds while driving.
  • Allow for at least three feet between your vehicle and a cyclist when passing.

Pedestrian Tips

  • By law, pedestrians have the right-of-way, but don’t assume drivers know or care. In other words, always be on the alert.
  • Always cross a busy street at an intersection or within a marked crosswalk.
  • Make eye contact with drivers and be sure to stop before you cross in front of cars.
  • Be alert! No cell phones or earbuds while walking near traffic.
  • When walking on a road with no sidewalks, always walk on the left side facing the oncoming traffic and keep as far left as possible.
  • Always look left, then right, and left again … and keep looking for oncoming cars as you cross the street.
  • Wait for the “Walk” symbol when crossing at a signalized intersection.
  • When walking in parking lots, always look out for cars that are backing up.

Cyclist Tips

  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Wear bright or reflective clothing to increase visibility.
  • Ride on the right side of the road with traffic.
  • Be alert! No earbuds while riding near traffic.
  • Always use hand signals before turning or stopping.
  • Always obey stoplights and signs.
  • Ride in a straight line. No weaving.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before turning.

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