Tag Archives: road safety

Bicyclist Hit By Driver Opening Car Door

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

On Sunday, April 29, at 4:40 p.m., an adult male bicyclist traveling north on Lincoln Street near Kenmere Avenue was hit when a driver of a parked vehicle opened their door into the bike lane.

The bicyclist was transported to L.A. County USC Medical Center with serious injuries. His current state is unknown.

Burbank Police Department marked the location to assist in the investigation of the collision.

May is National Bike Month and Walk Bike Burbank is recommending people use ‘The Dutch Reach.’ A link to a Youtube Video demonstrating the technique can be found here.

Officers Looking for Motorists During Distracted Driver Awareness Month

This month, the Burbank Police Department is joining with law enforcement throughout California to bring awareness to distracted driving.

Ten years after “hands-free” laws were put into place to improve safety on the road, there has been a decrease in accidents caused by distracted drivers using their cellphones. However, distracting driving continues to be a major reason for accidents.

Data from 2007 shows there were over 33,000 accidents throughout California that were the result of distracted driving. In 2017, around 22,000 drivers were in traffic accidents that were the result of distracted driving.

“California’s distracted driving laws have been saving lives for a decade now. Every day, somewhere in California, someone is sitting down to dinner with their family who wouldn’t have made it through the day without these laws on the books. That’s tremendously gratifying,” said former State Senator Joe Simitian, author of California’s hands-free and no-texting laws.

April has been declared to be “Distracted Driving Awareness Month,” with the first week as “California Teen Safe Driving Week.”

April 5th and 13th will be the two dates on which police throughout the state will increase enforcement for no-texting traffic safety laws. Through grant-funded resources, additional BPD traffic officers will be monitoring parts of the city where accidents are more frequent. Drivers observed to be on their phones will be ticketed, and a citation of $162 will be given to first time offenders.

For prevention of such accidents, police want to make drivers aware of safe alternatives to using their phones while driving. Police have provided options, such as designating a passenger who can respond to texts or calls on the driver’s behalf. While on the road, drivers can also find a safe place to park to make a phone call or send a message. To avoid the temptation of using their phone altogether, drivers are encouraged to put their mobile device in the backseat or the trunk.

“Distracted Driving Awareness Month” is funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Yellow Turn Signals Raise Controversy

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Starting as far back as June 2016 and most recently in March and April of this year, yellow left turn signals were introduced to various intersections throughout Burbank. While it is an effort to increase road safety and improve traffic flow, some drivers have raised concerns, citing confusion as to what the lights mean.

The City of Los Angeles first implemented “protected/permissive” left turn signals as they’re called, over a decade ago. Burbank is among the latest surrounding cities to receive the change.

“We did one test in June 2016 at Olive and First to observe it, and it was working well, and that’s why we expanded it,” said Jonathan Yee, Traffic Engineer and Assistant Public Works Director.

Flashing yellow arrows, known as amber arrows which tell drivers to proceed with caution, follow a green arrow, which give drivers making a left turn the priority.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“The whole background behind it is, research was done on flashing yellow lights for 7 years. The flashing yellow light replaces the green circle, and the Federal Government found that it was safer in the sense that there were fewer people who interpreted it as a green right-away for left turns, and also fewer collisions,” explained Yee.

Although they are meant to improve safety, some believe the lights have backfired, endangering those who are forced to make an in-the-moment decision based on whether they should turn or not when the arrow flashes yellow.

“They are unsafe! They do not make driving easier. If anything fix the timing of the lights at Chandler!” tweeted Burbank resident @dblares.

At a City Council meeting on Tuesday, September 19, a concerned citizen brought the newly implemented amber arrows to the Council’s attention.

“There are so many traffic accidents happening. I’m not making this up, on my way here tonight I witnessed another traffic accident at Olive and Victory… The traffic signals, those yellow blinking lights that have been placed in the city, I understand from one of the officers at the accident that those have actually increased traffic accidents at those intersections,” said resident Audrey Ford, who received applause from many of those in attendance.

Ford cited a study from Minnesota publication, the StarTribune, in which 34 crashes were recorded at an intersection with amber arrows over the course of last year. 16 accidents were attributed to drivers who didn’t realize the yellow lights indicated they needed to yield.

Mayor Will Rogers responded to comments by a few at the meeting who were opposed to the lights, stating, “Blinking yellow lights are all over this country. I’ve gone through them in Denver, in Portland, in Florida, in Arizona… It may be the first time we’ve seen them here in Burbank, but they’re not new…”

Mayor Rogers also noted that the lights have never confused him personally.

Despite the controversy, several residents have expressed how grateful they are for the City’s effort to make the streets safer.

“Those flashing lights are the best thing Burbank has done to improve traffic in the last year. Love, love, love them!!” tweeted @craftybeans.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Likewise, some who were originally hesitant to the change are beginning to feel comfortable with the City’s decision as they realize the benefits of amber lights.

“In the beginning they were annoying, but I now understand their purpose,” tweeted local @Jack_the_Smith.

For those who have strong opinions on the recent addition of amber lights, whether in favor of them or not, the City Council is willing to listen to locals who have been affected.

In a city with a growing array of business enterprises such as “America’s largest Ikea,” Empire Center’s Walmart, and a Target Express coming soon to Hollywood Way, finding better ways to control traffic is important. More and more people are coming into Burbank from outside the city limits, and simple modifications to intersections can reduce accidents and save drivers time on the road.

Intersections that currently have “protected/permissive” signals include Olive Ave. at First St., Alameda Ave. at the ramp for the 134 Freeway, Glenoaks Blvd. at Scott Rd., Buena Vista St. at Alameda Ave., Buena Vista St. at Burbank Blvd., Buena Vista St. at Empire Ave., Buena Vista St. at Magnolia Blvd., and Buena Vista St. at Olive Ave.

In November, the intersection of Buena Vista St. at Verdugo Ave. will also be affected. The update to Burbank traffic lights will continue through June 2018.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)