Traffic Jammin’ with Janis Mara – Every Monday at 2pm on Claycord.com.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Greetings, all! This Claycord.com column is for everyone who negotiates the highways and public transit of the Bay Area. It runs every Monday at 2pm and answers your commuting and transportation questions.
Email your questions to email@example.com.
COMMUTER: I was driving in bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go traffic on a connector street, Central Avenue in El Cerrito, to get to the freeway and I guess I wasn’t moving fast enough for the motorcycle behind me. He let out several loud blasts from his exhaust pipes, startling the dickens out of me, and passed on the right, at one point driving on the sidewalk.
Do I have a responsibility to stay close to the car ahead of me in a bumper-to-bumper situation?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Oh, dear, Wondering, sounds like this was one of those motorcyclists who gives all the others a bad name. Here’s what our resident Claycordian law enforcement officer, Officer Leo, has to say about the situation:
“Your responsibility is to drive with your safety and the safety of those around you in mind.
Some people can operate in relative safety at a closer interval in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Others leave a large safety gap between themselves and are subject to others constantly filling that space. Both methods are legal and acceptable if no one crashes.
It’s pretty obvious in your case that this motorcyclist was in a hurry. The loud pipes and passing on the right aren’t a big deal, but when he/she went on the sidewalk … C’mon … we don’t need instant-replay to know that foul.”
COMMUTER: People wearing a seat belt are at times severely injured during an accident. People wearing a seat belt are sometimes killed during an accident. It is time for you to step outside your box and start looking at the whole issue.
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Peter’s remark was made in a discussion of seat belt use in the comments section of last week’s column.
In the interests of accuracy, Peter’s comment is true. Seat belts aren’t perfect. “It is true that sometimes the force of a crash is so great that nothing could have prevented injuries,” according to the website of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety.
It is also true that 53 percent of drivers and passengers killed in car crashes in the U.S. weren’t belted, according to statistics cited by the Centers for Disease Control. Buckling up reduces your risk of death by 45 percent and risk of injury by 50 percent, according to a January report from the centers at http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/seatbeltbrief/
An interesting datapoint: Folks at agencies like these say “crash,” instead of “accident,” because they maintain that almost all traffic accidents could be avoided.
COMMUTER: I was racing to get through an intersection and just managed to zip under the traffic light as it turned red. Isn’t there a rule that if you clear any pavement markings before the light changes, you won’t get a ticket?
–In A Hurry
TRAFFIC JAMMER: Beloved Claycordian, your question, and your traffic light technique, trouble me. Believe me, the Jammer knows how easy it is to get caught up in the rush to get to work, pick up the kids, get groceries in time for dinner. However, there is an uncomfortably direct connection between your viewing the intersection as a sort of video game to be defeated and the possibility that you might end up in the hospital.
Please remember what our pal Leo always says: Slow down. And to answer your question, once you have entered an intersection on a yellow light, you are legally in the intersection. That doesn’t mean you have to do it every time, of course.
COMMUTER: I was wondering who I would speak to about having traffic patterns monitored for possible additional stop light/stop signs around the Clayton Valley Charter High School area in Concord. The traffic is so horrible, especially coming off Academy Road on to Alberta. Also, what about crosswalk lights?
TRAFFIC JAMMER: The Jammer has shared your question with Concord’s Traffic Czar, Ray Kuzbari, Questioning. Watch this space for answers!
TRAFFIC JAMMER: That’s it for this week – see you next Monday. Be sure to cruise by Claycord.com at 2pm for more traffic intelligence. Remember, whether you drive, walk, bike or hop Amtrak, BART or AC Transit, Traffic Jammer Janis Mara is here to answer your questions.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org