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.

Ojos en la carretera y la mente enfocada

Cualquier viajero en Austin puede confirmar que hay muchos autos en la carretera. De acuerdo con el sitio web Gouling.com, aproximadamente el 8.7% de los hogares de los EE. UU. No tienen automóviles. En Austin, ese número es tan solo el 6%.

Los operadores de Capital Metro hacen un esfuerzo increíble al navegar por la marea del tráfico de la mañana y la tarde, sin mencionar el laberinto de proyectos de construcción en toda la región. Para complicar más el trayecto, está la cantidad de conductores distraídos que ven los atascos de tráfico como una oportunidad para responder a un mensaje de texto o enviar un “último” correo electrónico. Durante este Mes Nacional de la Seguridad, quisimos ofrecer algunos consejos para ayudar a nuestros conductores a mantener sus ojos en la carretera y la mente enfocada.

1.     No envíe mensajes de texto al manejar. Esto parece tener sentido común. En 2017, Texas prohibió enviar mensajes de texto al manejar, pero aún así sigue sucediendo. Para evitar enviar mensajes de texto la gente opta por usar el comando de voz, pero aún así eso requiere un enfoque mental que debería ser utilizado para manejar.

2.     Maneje con las manos libres. A veces se necesita un mapa para llegar a su destino y cuenta con las aplicaciones para evitar los atascos de tráfico. En estos casos se recomienda poner el teléfono en un soporte ya que la ordenanza de la ciudad requiere que usted opere su teléfono con las manos libres.

3.     Use el “no molestar”. Casi todos los sistemas operativos vienen con la opción de colocar el teléfono en el modo “no molestar” al estar manejando. Envíe un mensaje en automático a cualquier persona que intente enviarle un mensaje de texto, haciéndole saber que volverá a comunicarse con ellos una vez que se haya detenido.

4.     Ponga en silencio su celular. Si no puede estar sin su teléfono, póngalo en silencio al manejar. O aún mejor, póngalo fuera de alcance. Una mirada a la pantalla o un momento en que se apresure en tomar el teléfono puede tener efectos devastadores para el resto de su vida.

Es imperativo considerar su seguridad, la seguridad de quienes viajan con usted y quienes lo rodean cada vez que maneje. Todos los que se comparten la carretera desempeñamos un papel en la seguridad vial.

National Safety Month

Every June the National Safety Council encourages organizations to put an emphasis on reducing the leading causes of injury “at work, on the road and in our homes and communities.” This is something Capital Metro does every day.

2019 APTA Gold Award Safety SMCRA lot of this happens behind the scenes. Our safety department has been working with everyone at Capital Metro to be “Serious About Safety” and has made that the top responsibility of each and every employee and contractor who works in our system. In our industry that is called “creating a safety culture” and Capital Metro was recently honored by the American Public Transportation Association with a Gold Award for its safety efforts. Among these endeavors was the creation of a hazard assessment team that is responsible for identifying and assessing potential hazards and making recommendations on how to deal with them. Another was the institution of a safety management system that encourages all to report areas of concern about safety throughout the road and work environments.

IMG_1331 CRYou may have seen the signs on the back of our buses that took a humorous approach to not running into the bus. The signs featured everything from, “You Wouldn’t Hit a Bus with Glasses” to a photo of a group of startled people saying, “Whoa, Whoa. This Is a Bus. Stay Back.” These may sound silly, but they worked! The ads reduced rear-end crashes on these vehicles by 69%. You may have also seen signs on the sides of our buses honoring the Safety Champions — employees whose focus on safety made a real difference in the workplace. That inspired a lot of employees to work even harder to make safety their number one goal.

Capital Metro is honored to receive this recognition, but a lot of what keeps our community safe is YOU. So, this June, think about what you are doing when it comes to safety. In the coming weeks we will be sharing information on the things you can do to stay safe on our roads and around Capital Metro buses and trains. Let’s all work together to make our roads and sidewalks even safer, not just in June, but all year.

Hit the Trail

action-activity-adventure-1374543Austin is ranked as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country. If you have never taken advantage of the miles of dedicated bike trails and lanes, National Bike Month is a great time to put on your helmet, get outside and explore.

The city is continually working to develop a complete bike network. Those ongoing efforts are just one of the reasons the League of American Bicyclists has designated Austin a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly City.

If you want to give bicycle commuting a try, an online bike route map ranks roads on the level of comfort cyclists can expect based on traffic and accommodations. Roads marked in green have lanes physically separated from vehicular traffic. Blue roads have designated bike lanes. Also noted are several projects under development to add lanes for bike and pedestrian traffic.

If you’re not quite ready to share space with motorized vehicles there are more than 30 miles of urban trails snaking their way through the city.

The trail system is designed to let people enjoy the great outdoors while keeping them safe from traffic. Motorized vehicles, including electric scooters, are prohibited from the trails.

During National Bike Month, take the opportunity to explore biking. It’s a great way to relieve stress and a greener and more economical commuting alternative.

Saddle Up for Safety During National Bike Month

Loading Bike Bus video stillMay is National Bike Month and Capital Metro wants to take the opportunity to remind everyone the importance of sharing the road safely with cyclists.

Austin has a strong bicycling culture and cyclists are so commonplace we sometimes take them for granted. Throughout the month of May we plan to offer safety reminders and tips to make the most of Austin living if you do it from the seat of a bicycle.

One of the most basic reminders is to always wear a helmet. We have more motorized vehicles on the road thanks to the region’s rapid growth. That added traffic creates greater opportunities to encounter distracted drivers. Wearing a helmet could be a difference-maker in surviving a collision with another vehicle.

It doesn’t matter where you ride, or the distance of your trip, a helmet is essential. Make sure it’s the right size, ensure it fits snugly, it should rest properly on top of your head and it has to be strapped on.

Check back with Capital Metro throughout National Bike Month.

Cap Metro wants to help you bike to work

Bike 2 bus TopCropThis week, commuters are encouraged to keep their cars at home and use their bikes to get to work. May 13-17 is Bike to Work Week capped off by Bike to Work Day May 17.

The Austin bike community shows up big for Bike to Work Day with live music and complimentary drinks and snacks at special fueling stations along the way. New bike commuters can try routes alongside experienced cyclists and guides.

According to the League of American Bicyclists, 40% of all trips are less than two miles. From 2000 to 2013, bike commuters grew by 62%. Austin’s plethora of bike and pedestrian-only trails and well-marked bike lanes make the city ideal for commuters and Capital Metro is more than happy to help those wanting to make that transition.

If your job is farther than you’re comfortable riding, you can combine your bike commute with a bus or train ride. Capital Metro has convenient racks on the exterior of all local and MetroRapid buses that hold up to three bikes per rack. There is also space on each train compartment for bikes.

You can also lock and leave your bike at special bike shelters located at our most popular MetroRail stations and transit centers. They provide safe, secure places for you to stow your bike while you complete your commute. Think of it as a bicycle Park and Ride.

The shelters are at:

  • Kramer Station
  • Lakeline Station
  • MLK Jr. Station
  • Plaza Saltillo Station
  • Highland Station
  • Tech Ridge Park & Ride
  • South Congress Transit Center

Get more information on secured bike shelters here. Follow this link to learn more about Capital Metro’s bike-friendly transit.

Don’t let this opportunity to bike to work pass you by!

Heads Up, Look Around

woman using map on gray car compartment
Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Distracted driving is a primary factor that contributes to one out of every six traffic-related deaths and serious injuries. Daydreaming is the number one distraction. Cognitive distractions can happen at any moment while driving. From commuting to running errands, drivers can easily become distracted by their thoughts. Thinking about a work-related problem or daydreaming about your dinner plans diminishes the mental abilities required to drive safely. The danger of daydreaming and driving is that you don’t become aware of it until an accident has happened. According to a 2018 study by Erie Insurance, 61 percent of fatal car crashes were caused by people who claim to be “lost in their thoughts.” Unlike texting and driving, daydreaming might be more difficult to avoid. Maintaining a clear mind and staying actively engaged are essential to preventing distracted driving.

#JustDrive #HeadsUpAustin

Follow these tips to stay alert and aware:

  • Plan your driving routes. This allows you to stay focused on the road and not on figuring out directions.
  • Self-check your mental and emotional state. It might be best to get a ride or take transit and avoid driving if you are feeling emotionally or mentally overwhelmed.
  • Make a playlist with music that helps you focus. Upbeat music can help you stay alert and awake. Download the music that works best for you.
  • Chew gum to stay alert. Studies show chewing gum helps.