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Street Smarts Safety Tips

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If you want to make Santa Cruz streets safer, the first step is to travel smart. We’ve put together some basic tips and guidance to help you make better decisions whether you’re walking, riding or driving.

Walk This Way

Walking is a great form of exercise and a wonderful way to get around. Be sure to make safety a priority and you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of walking for many years to come.

  • Always cross at an intersection and preferably in a marked crosswalk.
  • Make eye contact with drivers to be sure you are seen.
  • Look in front and behind, as well as both ways when crossing the street.
  • Avoid wearing headphones or using your phone when crossing the street.
  • Watch for traffic the entire time you are crossing a street.
  • Be aware of turning vehicles.
  • Do not cross in the middle of the street or between parked cars.
  • Avoid walking in traffic where there are no sidewalks or crosswalks.
  • If you have to walk on a road without sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
  • Never walk behind a vehicle that is backing up.
  • Wear bright colors or reflective clothing if walking at night. Consider carrying a flashlight.
  • Don’t start walking if you see a flashing DON’T WALK SIGNAL.
  • Wait for the WALK signal to cross the street safely.
  • Always hold your child’s hand and never allow a child under 10 to cross the street alone.

Cycle Safely

When you're riding your bike, you get the great benefit of exercise and being outside. Follow these tips to ensure you stay safe on your ride:

  • Wear a snug fitting helmet.
  • Be sure to be seen by wearing bright colors and reflective clothing.
  • Use lights and reflectors at night.
  • Ride with traffic.
  • Use bike lanes or ride near the right curb.
  • Make your turns from the turn lanes.
  • Obey traffic signs and signals.
  • Use hand signals for turning or stopping.
  • Respect the right of way of others.
  • Be aware of cars and pedestrians.

Safe Driving Strategies

Smart driving decisions are a critical part of ensuring we have safer streets. And how you drive is a reflection of the respect you have for your community. By making more conscious and conscientious choices when you’re behind the wheel, you can do your part for Street Smarts.

  • Don’t be a distracted driver.
  • Do not text or talk on the phone.
  • Adjust mirror, seats and other controls before driving off.
  • Keep your attention focused on the road, not your passengers.
  • Don’t eat or drink while driving.
  • Be courteous - slow down and allow others to merge.
  • Always stop at stop signs.
  • Respect the right of way of others, especially cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Slow down when you see a yellow light.
  • Always use your turn signals and check for bicyclists before turning.
  • When you pass a cyclist, allow three feet of space between your car and the bike. 
  • Check for cyclists before you open your car door. 
  • Remember, you may encounter pedestrians anytime and anywhere.
  • Reduce your speed and always watch for kids and pets in neighborhoods.
  • Maintain a consistent speed and keep a buffer zone between your vehicle and other cars.
  • Stop for pedestrians crossing the street.
  • Don’t assume pedestrians see you or that they will act predictably.
  • Slow down and watch for children in school zones.

Share the Road Safety with Buses and Trucks

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