Safety Tips for College Students

Welcome back to the new school year! There is a lot to be excited about for new students starting their college experience, and for returning students continuing to make memories.

But with events, activities, festivals, and of course, football games filling your fall, Capital Metro wants to make sure all sports and festival fans are keeping themselves safe going to and from these events.

It can be really easy to move and walk with the crowd. A herd mentality starts to take over. That doesn’t mean you’re protected from distracted drivers. Keep your head up and continue to look for traffic when events let out. Don’t just spill into the street where you run the risk of getting hit.

If you are headed for some post-event festivities and have mapped your trek, make sure your eyes aren’t glued to your screen the entire time. Check your phone periodically and only when you’re safely on the sidewalk or a corner out of the street.

College provides a lot of fun and there are plenty of memories to be made. Keep yourself and your friends safe to enjoy them. Remember, CapMetro is always a good choice for a safe ride.

 

Don’t Take Shortcuts: Use the Crosswalk

We all have places to be and we all want to get there as quickly as possible. If there’s a shortcut, we typically take it.

But there’s one shortcut you should never take, and that’s crossing the street in the middle of the block. It’s illegal, but most of all it’s dangerous.

The distance across six lanes of traffic may seem like nothing compared to a trek to the corner, crossing the street and then walking to where you need to be. But the risk is never worth it.

Crosswalks provide pedestrians an extra level of protection from oncoming traffic.  Vehicles are required to stop when pedestrians are in the street, however, crosswalks and clearly marked intersections provide a visual reminder for drivers that pedestrians are part of the equation. Plus, drivers expect to see pedestrians at crosswalks. They know to be careful when approaching an intersection. The same is certainly not always true midblock.

There is too much riding on your safety to risk crossing heavily trafficked lanes, all in the name of saving some time. It’s just not worth it.

Simple tips can keep kids safe on CapMetro

Capital Metro is a great, affordable way for kids to get out and have some fun this summer with all kids under 18 riding for free.

Whether you’re escorting your kids, or they ride CapMetro themselves, it is important to reinforce some safety messages to get them securely from Point A to B.

On CapMetro buses 

Always cross at a crosswalk. The bus stop may be in the middle of the block, but it’s safer to go to the corner and cross with the traffic light or at a clearly marked intersection. When crossing, encourage your kids to look left, right, then left again. Don’t cross until it’s clear and remind them to keep checking while crossing. If there’s a light, wait for the “walk” light before crossing. If it’s a four-way stop with signs, have your kids make eye contact with drivers to ensure they have been seen before attempting to cross.

Kids need to stay focused on their surroundings, so they should take out their earbuds to concentrate on the traffic and their environment when traveling to the bus stop. Kids should also stay on the sidewalk if it’s available. If there isn’t one, remind them to move against the flow of traffic. This makes it easier to see oncoming vehicles and for those vehicles to see them.

Once on board, children should find an available seat as soon as possible or hold onto the passenger rails until a seat becomes available. When exiting, wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before leaving your seat and heading for the door.

Children (and adults) should never chase a bus. Another one is usually a few minutes away. Also, just like in school, never cross in front of a bus, into traffic.

On MetroRail

Kids need to keep their eyes up and look out for MetroRail trains which are faster and quieter than freight trains. MetroRail trains also aren’t required to blow horns in designated quiet zones.

Tracks should only be crossed at designated crossings. Remind kids they need to stay clear from walking alongside tracks as well. The area 25 feet on each side of the tracks between Downtown Station and Gracy Farms crossing is CapMetro right-of-way and off-limits. Anyone in that space is considered trespassing. The right-of-way extends to 50 feet on either side of the tracks from Gracy Farms to Leander.

Following these guidelines can help everyone, especially kids, have a fun and safe summer using CapMetro to get around.

Capital Metro offers accessibility for everyone

Capital Metro is committed to providing all passengers safe and reliable transit.

That commitment absolutely extends to customers with disabilities. CapMetro complies with all applicable rules and regulations issued by the United States Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration and makes modifications to its vehicles, policies and procedures to accommodate people with disabilities.

“Kneeling” buses are one accommodation. If it’s too hard to step up into the bus, the operator can physically lower the bus making it easier to step aboard.

Customers using wheelchairs or other wheeled mobility devices can board via a deployable ramp that allows riders to roll onto the vehicle. Some buses also have ramps that lower and lift passengers using mobility devices.

You may have noticed a bus operator assisting a passenger in a wheelchair or wheeled mobility device. What they are doing is securing the device with straps to ensure safety. Bus operators also help remove the straps when the passenger is ready to get off.

MetroRail trains and station platforms offer level boarding. There are special sections on MetroRail cars to accommodate customers with wheelchairs and wheeled mobility devices.

Please remember these marked areas in the front of the bus and trains are reserved for people who need extra time entering and exiting vehicles. That includes customers with disabilities and older adults. Always do the right thing and yield those seats to the folks who need them.

Accessibility isn’t just limited to the buses or trains. it is important that sidewalks and curb cuts be kept clear of obstacles like dockless scooters, bicycles and other impediments. Drivers also need to keep their eyes up at intersections and attentive to people in wheelchairs, pedestrians using mobility canes, and older adults in the crosswalk who might need extra time to get across the street.

Also know it is a crime to deface Braille on any signs at bus and rail stops. Defaced Braille prevents blind and low-vision passengers from getting the information they need to travel.

Austin is an inclusive city and CapMetro is part of the foundation of that inclusivity. All passengers should feel comfortable and confident riding on our buses and trains and traveling the city’s streets and sidewalks.

More information on the accessibility services CapMetro offers may be found at https://capmetro.org/accessibility.

Scoot Your Commute

In the past year more than 14,000 dockless scooters have joined the ranks of the various modes of transit available to Austinites. While travel by scooter may only be for recreation or the last mile of your commute, it is important to make it to your destination safely. During National Safety Month Capital Metro wants to emphasize the importance of how to stay safe when you are scooting around Austin.

Scooter riders and cyclists are more vulnerable than other vehicles on the road. Take a cue from cyclists and wear a helmet when you ride. Additionally, you should always ride with the flow of traffic, and pay attention to all traffic signs and signals. Use bike lanes whenever available. Doing these things gives drivers around you more time to react and share the road.

Be careful to avoid distracted scooting. Distractions come in many forms, from listening to your music to talking or texting on your phone. In Austin, scooter riders must abide by the city’s hands-free cell phone ordinance, so pack up your device and enjoy the ride. Finally, you should never ride a scooter when you are impaired. By avoiding these distractions, you not only make travel safer for yourself, you make travel safer for the other vehicles and pedestrians around you.

Look out for pedestrians, especially in high foot traffic areas. Riding in bike lanes helps you avoid pedestrian traffic. Because your scooter is quick and silent, pedestrians don’t always hear you coming, so don’t be shy with that bell most scooters have. And remember to always yield to people walking on sidewalks. Making yourself familiar with local ordinances empowers you to know where it is safe to ride.

If your destination is a little farther than you would feel comfortable scooting, ride a Capital Metro bus to get closer. It’s quick, easy, and will save you money. Make sure to park your scooter in a safe area out of the path of bus riders and pedestrians before you get on board.

It may seem like there is a lot more to riding on scooters, but it’s because we all have a lot riding on safety.

Viajar En Scooter

Austin está ya muy familiarizado con la tecnología de micromovilidad emergente. En el último año, más de 14,000 scooters se han unido a las diferentes modalidades de tránsito disponibles para los residentes de Austin. Aunque el viajar en scooter sea solo para recreación o la última milla de su viaje, es importante llegar a su destino de manera segura. Durante este Mes Nacional de la Seguridad, Capital Metro quiere enfatizar la importancia de cómo mantenerse seguro al viajar por Austin.

Los conductores de scooter son más vulnerables que otros pasajeros en la carretera. Por eso, es recomendable usar un casco cuando viaje en scooter. Adicionalmente, siempre debe viajar en la dirección del tráfico y prestar atención a todas las señales de tráfico. Use los carriles para bicicletas siempre que estén disponibles. Estas medidas, les dará a los conductores a su alrededor más tiempo para reaccionar y compartir la calle.

Tenga cuidado de no andar distraídamente. Las distracciones vienen en muchas formas, desde escuchar música hasta hablar o enviar mensajes de texto en su teléfono. En Austin, los conductores de scooter deben cumplir con la ordenanza de teléfonos móviles de manos libres de la ciudad, así que guarde su dispositivo y disfrute del viaje. Además, recuerde no llevar acompañantes en su scooter ya que están diseñados para un solo pasajero a la vez. Por último, nunca viaje en scooter cuando se encuentre bajo los efectos de bebidas alcohólicas o medicamentos. Al evitar estas distracciones, no solo hace que su viaje sea más seguro, sino que también lo hace más seguro para los demás vehículos y peatones que lo rodean.

Esté atento a los peatones, especialmente en áreas de alto tránsito peatonal. Viajar en carriles para bicicletas ayuda a evitar el tráfico peatonal. Debido a que los scooters son rápidos y silenciosos, los peatones no siempre los escuchan, así que no sea tímido con la campana con la que están equipados la mayoría de los scooters. Y recuerde ceder siempre el paso a las personas que caminan por las aceras. Familiarizarse con las ordenanzas locales le permite saber dónde es seguro manejar.

Si su destino está un poco más alejado de lo que usted se siente cómodo recorriendo, tome un autobús de Capital Metro para acercarse. Es rápido, fácil y le ahorrará dinero. Solo asegúrese de estacionar su scooter en un área segura fuera de los pasajeros y del camino de los peatones.

Quizás piense que son muchos los consejos para andar en scooter, pero es porque todos tenemos mucho que aportar a la seguridad vial.

Tips for safely striding around Austin

We all know about Austin’s heavy traffic. But it also has a lot of foot traffic, with tourists, students and convention goers trekking across downtown.

Drivers always need to be on the lookout for pedestrians, but there are some things pedestrians can do to make their walks or runs through Austin a little safer. Since June is National Safety Month, we wanted to share a few of those tips.

Runners or walkers trying to log those steps should wear bright clothing if you’re moving on or around roadways. Enhance your visibility with reflective strips, vests or flashing lights, especially around dusk, dawn or at night.

As much as your playlist fuels your run or your walk, blasting music or the latest podcast through your earbuds can distract you from traffic or bikers trying to send you warnings. If you are going to be in a higher traffic area, maybe forego the music for a bit.

Always move against the flow of traffic. It may seem counterintuitive, but it puts you on the opposite side of the road from approaching vehicles approaching from the rear and gives you extra time to react to the vehicles approaching from the front. It also gives you greater visibility to drivers. Make eye contact whenever possible.

You especially want to make eye contact at crosswalks. Unfortunately, drivers use stop lights and stop signs as opportunities to respond to texts, check emails or update their social media. Drivers may also be more focused on surrounding vehicular traffic than foot traffic. Making eye contact assures you they’re paying attention to YOU.

Don’t forget to stretch, stay hydrated, and keep moving. You have a lot riding, and striding, on your safety.