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Safety Today: Being Safe with Cars, Bikes and People

(Photo - Bike) The weather is great and everybody wants to be out in it—walking, biking, and driving.

Here at SLAC, we share our roads and pathways; bicycles and cars on the roads, and pedestrians and cyclists on the pathways. To be safe, we have to be aware of others on our route.

One of SLAC's problem areas is the Sand Hill Road and Saga Lane intersection at the main gate. It's common to drive on autopilot when arriving and leaving work, as drivers' minds are elsewhere, thinking about home or the job. Yet this is the time when we most need to be alert. Drivers should be especially attentive for pedestrians and cyclists at the following intersections:

When arriving at SLAC from the 280 direction and making a right-hand turn into SLAC from Sand Hill Road:
- Watch for bicycles when moving into the bike lane to turn right.
- Stop at the red light and watch for bicycles entering SLAC from other lanes.
- Watch for pedestrians crossing the road.

When leaving SLAC and turning left onto Sand Hill Road towards 280:
- Watch for pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the road. Please be particularly attentive as the drivers in front of you might be turning before the pedestrians get halfway across the intersection.
- At lunch time, many pedestrians cross the road for exercise and lunch—be careful when leaving the site in a car.
- When leaving at twilight, pay extra attention as the sun can cause glare and make pedestrians and cyclists hard to see.

When approaching SLAC from the Stanford area:
- Drivers should avoid making 3-point U-turns (a right turn onto Saga Lane to cross into SLAC) instead of simply making a left turn. The timing of the lights was set up for bicycle safety.

A few other safety suggestions while on the SLAC site:
- Drivers should be aware of cyclists and pedestrians on the roads at SLAC.
- Drivers should be particularly careful when moving around slower or stopped vehicles as there might be people in the road beyond them.
- Drivers should stop for people in crosswalks. Please be alert for people crossing in other areas as well.
- Drivers should also use their turn signals at all times.
- Bicyclists should follow standard road rules while on site at SLAC.
- Bicyclists should be careful of pedestrians while cycling on pathways between buildings.
- Pedestrians should use sidewalks when possible. If you have to step into the road, be careful of cars, bicycles, and other vehicles that use the road.
- Pedestrians should use crosswalks when they are available.

Throughout the summer as our sunny weather continues, we're all going to be going outside. If all of us—walkers, bikers, and drivers—pay attention, we can share the roads safely.

—Larissa Williams
   SLAC Today, May 23, 2006

Learn more: Traffic Light Change Benefits Cyclists from SLAC Today, February 28, 2006