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Marsha McLean: Respect is a two-way street

Posted: July 4, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 4, 2014 2:00 a.m.

By now, the phrase “Respect is a Two-Way Street” may be a familiar one to Santa Clarita residents. That’s because this is the main message behind the city’s new safety campaign to help keep bicyclists, motorists and pedestrians safe on our roadways.

In 2013, the city of Santa Clarita experienced 99 reported traffic collisions involving bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists. These numbers represent a startling average of two incidents per week.

The reported collisions resulted in 92 injuries and three deaths, reflecting the need for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to be more aware of each other on our streets.

To address this rise in collisions, the city and the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Department partnered together to launch the “Respect is a Two-Way Street” safety campaign.

Through social media, advertising and a dedicated page at, the campaign provides practical safety tips and reminders about California laws to help residents use safe practices on Santa Clarita roadways.

For nearly all the 99 collisions reported in 2013, “failure to yield” was deemed the predominant cause, regardless of whether a car, bike or pedestrian was at fault.

By yielding to the appropriate right-of-way and being aware of others on the road, we can drastically reduce these types of accidents.

In addition to utilizing good practice such as yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks, or watching carefully for other bicyclists and motorists, right-of-way also means respecting the rights of others.

By law, bicycles in the roadway have the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles. This means whether residents travel on two wheels or four, they are all held to the same standard under the law. is aimed at improving the safety of bicyclists, motorists and pedestrians as part of the “Respect is a Two-Way Street” campaign.

For example, bicyclists can improve safety by clearly signaling turns, riding in a straight line and checking behind before turning or changing lanes.

Cyclists should also wear helmets, bright clothing, and place lights and bells on bikes to help enhance personal safety on our streets.

I urge motorists to visit to view helpful road safety tips.

For instance, drivers can help to greatly decrease incidents on the road by practicing patience. This includes yielding to other motorists, pedestrians and bikes with the right-of-way, waiting to pass until it is safe to do so, and refraining from using a horn unnecessarily and in close proximity to cyclists.

Above all, we can eliminate many collisions on our roadways by being respectful of one another and remembering that bikes, cars and pedestrians all have a rightful place on our roads.

Whether we travel on four wheels, two wheels or two feet, we can keep our streets safer by looking out for one another.

The safety on our streets starts with us. Together, we can help reduce accidents and prevent the loss of life on our roadways.

To view more safety tips for cyclists and motorists, or to learn more about the City of Santa Clarita’s “Respect is a Two-Way Street” campaign, please take a few minutes of your time to visit

Marsha McLean is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at



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