51616(2)Turning on the morning news in Phoenix continues to bring increased awareness of the safety risks faced by bicyclists in our community every day. Not long goes by without a report of an accident or a fatality between a biker and a motor vehicle, many of which were caused by mistakes that could have been avoided.

If we could understand the reasons behind these collisions, more and more of them would be prevented and the associated loss of life would be curtailed. So with that in mind, exactly why do so many cyclists keep losing their lives in the Valley?

Like the majority of traffic accidents that happen here in Arizona, there is no one easy answer. Accidents happen for countless reasons but the biggest thing they have in common is that one or more individuals involved made a mistake. In fact, if all motorists and cyclists drove and rode according to the rules of the road and with safety as their primary concern, almost no collisions would happen. Instead, though, it is the errors of our citizens that are causing damage and leading to incidents that cannot be undone.

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42716(2)By all definitions, Phoenix is a large city with the benefits and problems that are associated with large towns. The Phoenix metropolitan area, often called Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, was estimated to be home to about 4.5 million residents in 2015, making it the 12th largest metropolitan area in the nation by population, according to the United States Census Department. With all those people, it should not be surprising that transportation and travel is an ongoing issue in the Valley with state and local officials constantly looking for ways to eliminate some of the congestion.

City officials have implemented massive improvements in public transportation in recent decades and now are working on Phoenix Transportation 2050, a comprehensive plan to advance the public transportation scene in Phoenix during a 35 year period ending in 2050. As part of that project, 42 miles of new light rail routes are planned with new light rail stations, an additional 1,000 miles of bicycle lanes will be constructed, the number, availability, and frequency of city buses will increase, and 135 miles of sidewalks will be added to our community. Importantly, there are also plans to add 75 new miles of RAPID routes and advanced technology like Wi-Fi on buses and trains.

You may be one of the thousands who have benefited from the introduction of the light rail, the upgrades to city buses as of late, or even the easier access afforded to public transit users. If that is the case, there is little doubt that you understand the value and impact of these alternative means of travel. But if you do not use public transportation, you may be less inclined to understand fully the impact that public transit has on your life.

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91616Arizona is a fantastic place to ride a bicycle. Whether you are into road racing, mountain biking, or something in between, the diverse landscape of our state can provide you with the trails you want to ride. As a result, thousands flock to Arizona to take advantage of our roadways, trails, paths, and other bike friendly areas regardless of the time of the year.

There are many reasons that Tempe is home to a large number of cyclists and riders. Among them, the presence of Arizona State University, the overall young age of an average resident, and the prime street biking and bike lanes are prominent benefits cited by local officials. A number of these riders are now anticipating Tour de Fat arriving in their town, a traveling festival dedicated to bicycling and all that goes with the lifestyle. With an eye towards promoting the benefits of cycling, Tour de Fat makes an appearance in multiple cities annually and will be arriving in Tempe over the first weekend in October.

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121015(3)Car accidents can take one or more of several dozen forms. They may be single car collisions or involve dozens of vehicles, depending on the impacts involved. Some are considered minor fender-benders where everyone involved can walk away uninjured while others turn tragic as one or more people lose their lives.

Among all the common types of car accidents, though, one happens more often than the rest. A rear-end car accident has been and continues to be the most common form of crash that happens in Arizona and the Phoenix area is far from immune from these incidents.

A rear-end accident happens when the front end of one vehicle crashes into the rear end of the vehicle in front of the first. It can happen on any type of road and in any conditions but areas prone to stop-and-go traffic and the areas immediately before stop lights and stop signs tend to see a high number of rear-end crashes.

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41816(2)Many people are shocked when they realize how common hit-and-run accidents are in the Phoenix area and are alarmed to learn that these incidents are on the rise in many parts of the country. After all, the laws in Arizona make it as clear as can be: motorists involved in a car accident in the state must remain at the scene of that crash until cleared by responding officials, like police officers. There are very limited exceptions to this rule and usually the exceptions apply only the instance of a medical emergency so the vast majority of drivers that choose to leave the scene are guilty of a crime. The type of crime and the level of the offense may vary depending on the circumstances surrounding a collision but can be severe.

The public knows that there are some consequences to drivers who flee the scene of an accident and later are apprehended but far fewer people realize how these collisions impact victims. If you are involved in a crash with a fleeing motorist, for example, do you know your rights? Do you know how to proceed so that your interests are protected? If you are like a typical resident of Maricopa County, odds are that you may have questions, especially if you have never been the victim of an accident.

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IMG_4802If you work, have children, or like to socialize, you probably cannot avoid being out of the house during dark hours. It may be a regular occurrence that leads you to experience transportation at night or a rare evening away but regardless, if you drive, ride a bicycle, or walk when it is dark, you should realize that your safety is at a greater risk than it is during the day.

The reasons that night driving is associated with increased risk of car accidents are myriad and complex and include the fact that many people who drink and drive do so in the overnight hours. While some people drink during the daytime, it is much more common for people to drink later and to act in a negligent manner after drinking. This leads to thousands of drunk driving accidents every year in Arizona.

Most people have decreased vision at night when compared to their daytime vision which means that they have less ability to notice road hazards and changing traffic conditions. Further, if people cannot see as far in front of them at night, they will have less time to slow or stop their car if a problem does arise.

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zip-line-1563291If you are looking for a new hobby in Arizona, you might want to think about one that takes place outdoors. With the vastness of the state, the variety in the landscape found here, and the outdoor opportunities already in place, enjoying nature in and around Phoenix may be just the thing for you.

Many businesses have come to this realization in recent years and have capitalized on the adventurous spirit of those who live in Arizona by crafting new and exciting ways to enjoy the scenery. Among them, the zipline industry seems to have popped up overnight with multiple locations and types of ziplining crisscrossing the state.

Perhaps you have been thinking about ziplining one of these weekends or maybe your kids are dying to go with their friends. If you have given any though to ziplining, have you considered the safety implications that go with the activity?

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photo 3Riding a motorcycle in Phoenix can be amazing. It is relatively cost-effective, can make parking a breeze, and can be very fun at the same time. Unfortunately, though, bikers continue to face serious risks every time they get on a motorcycle and enter a public roadway – even if that biker does not do anything wrong while riding. While the risks are not unique to Arizona riders, they can be more apparent here due to the crowded nature of our roads and expressways, the number of drivers who are unfamiliar with where they are driving, and the high number of bikers in the Valley.

Data gathered by the Insurance Information Institute sheds light on some of the more startling statistics related to biking in America. Based on 2014 numbers, the Insurance Information Institute reports that bikers are 27 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per mile traveled and almost five times more likely to be injured.

Some of the reasons behind these discrepancies are agreed upon readily by experts while others continue to be hotly debated. It is critical that all adults who use the roadways, including those that do not ride, understand as much about motorcycle safety as possible so that motorcycle accidents can be greatly reduced, if not eliminated in their entirety.

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Dust StormNewcomers to the Valley were likely in for a bit of a shock yesterday as a substantial dust storm rolled into parts of the Phoenix area and affected a good portion of Maricopa County. Arriving from the south and striking yesterday evening, it was not long before the dust storm covered an area reportedly stretching from Casa Grande and Maricopa north beyond Camelback Mountain.

Officials are still determining the extent of the damage caused by the reduced visibility, wind, and rain that accompanied the storm but early reports indicate that several flights were delayed at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport, several owners experienced property damage, and at least one car accident is being blamed on the conditions.

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photo 5 (1)Uber is becoming a more and more popular means of transportation in Maricopa County, including in the city of Phoenix and the areas that surround it. Uber, a ride share service where a private driver picks up a passenger based on the passenger’s request through an app, lets people get from one place to another without worrying about where they will park, whether they have enough gas, or even if they know the best route to take to their destination.

While Uber offers a lot of benefits, it also poses a number of threats to its passengers who may or may not consider their own safety before they enter a car. Uber vehicles are involved in an increasingly large number of car accidents every year and passengers are being seriously hurt in a number of those collisions.

If you use Uber, hopefully your experience will be accident-free and you will never have to learn about the legal process that accompanies these crashes. But if you are unlucky and you are involved in a crash, keep the following in mind:

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