New, free program aims to reduce crashes and conflicts on the road.
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has identified Deschutes County as having a relatively high rate of crashes involving drivers and people riding bikes or people walking that often result in injuries or fatalities. However, most of these tragic crashes are preventable if all road users, including drivers, know what to do when they see people on bikes or people walking. Research shows that behavior and personal choices influence crash occurrence and severity just as much as roadway design.
Commute Options has launched the Oregon Friendly Driver Program, where drivers learn skills that keep all road users safe. When we all understand the same rules of the road, we can reduce crashes and conflicts and have a better experience while getting where we need to be.
The Oregon Friendly Driver Program is a free 1½-hour class to educate drivers on the best and safest way to use our streets with pedestrians, wheelchair users, bicyclists and other people on our roads. The class, sponsored by ODOT, is geared towards people who drive for work, such as truck drivers, delivery drivers, bus drivers, contractors, and other employees that spend a lot of time driving. Unlike a bicycle or pedestrian safety class, this class is designed specifically for drivers to learn how to be a friendly driver.
Oregon Friendly Driver participants will learn about:
The rights and responsibilities of all road users.
How to avoid common crashes that could involve people bicycling or walking.
How to drive correctly through bicycling and walking specific road features such as sharrows, bike boxes, green lanes and crosswalks.
Upon successful completion of the class, participants will receive an Oregon Friendly Driver certificate and sticker, which can be displayed on their vehicle.
Classes are now underway and available to groups and organizations and Commute Options has several workplaces and groups scheduled for the month of May. Commute Options Education Coordinator Kate Armstrong is teaching the classes in a fun, interactive manner. “By teaching people how to be the friendliest driver, we hope to keep everyone safe and happy on our roads. The class is fun, informative and helpful for anyone who drives on a regular basis,” says Armstrong.
Commute Options promotes choices that reduce the impacts of driving alone. Through active transportation choice, Commute Options encourages healthy individuals, a clean environment, and a strong economy. Commute Options represents transportation options in our community by educating citizens, businesses and government about the value of carpooling, vanpooling, walking, bicycling, teleworking and using public transportation. www.commuteoptions.org