Many thanks to the AAA of Northern California for sending me a concise roundup of all the driving-related state laws kicking in in 2008.
First and foremost is the one that has probably led to more confusion than the last 100 California ballot measures. I confess that just prior to July 1 of this year, I thought we were supposed to go hands-free with the mobile phone or face the consequences (Those would be $20 for the first offense, $50 thereafter, which I suspect for many will considered the cost of doing business).
But, as AAA’s Sean Comey notes, that particular law, along with its no-cell-no-text-no-anything-while-driving-under-18 counterpart passed this year, don’t actually kick in until July 1, 2008. So Californians, gab away, but try to practice with the earpiece occasionally so it won’t be such a shock this summer.
I have to start by saying that our own personal vehicles bring out the worst in us. We’re in control. We’re anonymous. Those other faceless operators are trying to get ahead of us and we hate them for it.
But public transportation is different. We must face our fellow commuters, sans glass or metal dividers. We are known. On my train, the conductor sees my name when he checks my ticket. Amtrak knows more about me than Facebook.
But our vulnerability to schedules, reliability and our dependence on the system can take its toll on our psyches and behavior.
After being called a traitor to bicycling earlier this week, I got to thinking: What we commuters need is a little comfort.
That’s partly why 70 percent of Bay Area commuters drive solo. It’s more comfortable to be enclosed in your own vehicle, to be able to choose the radio station, to chomp noisily on that breakfast burrito and to engage in ghastly personal grooming habits that even members of your nuclear family wouldn’t tolerate.
Not to belabor a single e-mail, but this bicyclist named John who heard me on KQED’s Forum program had a point:
Sure it’s `scary.’ The point, obviously, is to make it not scary. That’s why the other cities have things like colored bike lanes, protected Read the rest of this entry »
All it takes it one College president making a statement about something people are passionate about and suddenly, there’s a movement. And a counter-movement. In the electronic media, anyway.
The academic leader in question was John McCardell, Jr., president emeritus of Middlebury College in Vermont. He must have shrewdly calculated that while he had little chance of getting attention on his own, he’d get lots of help from his numerous opponents.
Which brings us to today, when I find in my inbox a press release from the Governors Highway Safety Association:
Some might argue that one shouldn’t waste the time of day to such things, but I saw this I couldn’t help but wonder, “Do they really think people buy this stuff anymore?”
I’m referring to the latest warning from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, decrying a Vermont federal judge’s ruling that states can independently regulate greenhouse gas emissions. This has huge implications for California, of course, because this state is once again ahead of the curve — in no small part because of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Read the rest of this entry »
We journalists are fond of disseminating news, or information that is new or previously unknown.
But today I’m going to tell nearly every one of you something that we’ve known for some months now, on the theory that one or two of you will be backing out of your caves on Labor Day weekend with the intention of driving somewhere.
Just to get your attention, I’ll put it the way Caltrans does on its variable message signs on all routes leading into the Bay Area: