05302017Headline:

Fairbanks, Alaska

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Ward Merdes
Ward Merdes
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Yard Sale Signs, Kids on Bikes and Potholes

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What do yard sales signs, kids on bikes and potholes have in common? They are all sure signs that spring has sprung. And they are signs that call for increased caution on Alaska roadways.
Motorists must be on the alert for cyclists and pedestrians of all ages now that people are able to enjoy the warmer temperatures. According to the Alaska Department of Transportation, www.dot.state.ak.us, approximately 20% of all traffic fatalities are pedestrians. Most of those killed are children or elderly people, or people who have been drinking. Whether you drive or walk, here are some tips to help you exercise increased caution this spring to make our roadways safer for all around.
Bicyclists first – remember that you are required to obey traffic signs, signals, and all other traffic laws. Parents, make sure your kids are up to snuff on bicycle safety skills and traffic laws before allowing them to play in the streets.
Motorists – be alert where bicyclists are concerned, and exercise extra caution. Bicycle riders have no vehicle structure to protect them, and are often difficult to see in traffic. Some are too young to have knowledge of all traffic laws. Drivers must be alert and courteous to all cyclists, especially the little ones, but really regardless of age. It’s simply a matter of life and death.
Pedestrians – remember that you have responsibilities too. Obey all traffic laws and signals. Stay on the sidewalk wherever possible. If you have to walk in the road, walk on the left side of the roadway facing oncoming traffic. Wear light colored or reflective clothing if possible. Cross only at crosswalks, and look all ways before crossing, including around the corner.
Motorists – be on the lookout for pedestrians now that the winter is on the wane. Slow down, yield and be prepared to stop when approaching pedestrians who are walking on or crossing roads. Be especially watchful for children near schools and residential areas.
And how about those potholes? Potholes can cause more than expensive car repairs. They can cause serious injury and loss of life. I can attest to that because of the number of clients I have helped after they suffered devastating accidents due to potholes.
Potholes result when water gets under the asphalt, and let’s face it; spring thaw brings lots of water. No disrespect to the Alaska DOT intended but we have some doozies of potholes here in our great state. And we have lots of them, so many in fact that DOT has posted pothole maintenance station phone numbers on their online website, listed both by region and by type of roadway. By all means, report potholes, but most of all, be on the lookout for them. The life you save may be your own.
Slow down Alaska. Be careful out there, be safe, and happy springtime.
Ward

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