COVINGTON - Summertime in the City is a time when everybody spends more time outdoors. With increased outdoor activity come additional safety risks to be mindful of as we share our public space, including the perils of speeding.
Consider the fact from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that most speeders on local roadways live right in the neighborhood.
'Children at Play' signs: not so helpful
Some residents have requested the City post 'Children at Play' signs in some areas where speeding is observed. However, according to the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), these signs may actually make it more likely to endanger children. According to the NCHRP, they take drivers' attention away from the roadway and - potentially - away from children who might dart into the street.
In addition to being ineffective, "Children At Play" signs are also dangerous because they distract drivers and residents from the hard work that we need to be doing to actually improve safety for pedestrians. Thinking in terms of "Children At Play" warnings or other signage makes us think that there are quick-fixes for livable roadways. As a result of their findings, The NCHRP has forbidden the use of "Children At Play" signs.
All of the 'Children at Play' signs were removed throughout the City many years ago. Since the NCHRP published their findings, extensive research has been done to show that these signs do not cause motorists to slow down at all and actually encourage parents to think it is safe for their kids to play in the street.
There are also issues with installing speed humps or rumble strips to try to slow cars down. Rumble strips are too noisy for a residential area and research has shown motorists speed up before or after speed humps to make up for lost time. To be effective, speed humps would need to be installed every 300 feet, which is not feasible especially in urban environments. Speed humps could create drainage issues for roadway runoff; slow emergency responses; and snow and Ice removal becomes more difficult.
25 Miles per hour within City limits
Chapter 72 of the City Code of Ordinanceoutlines the traffic speed restriction laws that govern the City. 72.40 section C states:
"All vehicles operated within the city shall not exceed 25 miles per hour on any streets, alleys, and public ways except on those streets or highways on which the State Highway Department or the City Traffic Department declares and determines upon the basis of engineering and traffic investigation that the speed of 25 miles per hour on certain streets and highways is less than or is more than is necessary for the safe operation of vehicles thereon in which event it shall be unlawful for any person to drive a vehicle at a speed in excess of the posted speed when signs are erected giving notice thereof."
Driver behavior is crucial to creating a safe environment for everyone using a roadway, especially if that roadway is in a high-density inter-modal environment like the urban core.
Controlling speed is no accident. It is a responsibility to ensure safety for others and ourselves. Safe driving behavior is no accident. It is a decision we make each time we get behind the wheel. Stay Safe.Drive 25 miles per hour when in City limits.
What you can do:
- If you see someone speeding in your neighborhood, call dispatch at 859 356 3191 and report the vehicle.
- Do not let children play in the street. For safety reasons, kids should not be playing in the street at any time. The City maintains over 700 acres of green space within 36 parks and pocket parks so that the public can enjoy the outdoors; try to focus play activity in these areas or in yards.Learn more about Covington parks here.
- If you feel that there is a recurring speeding problem occurring in a particular area, call Community Services and request a Traffic Calming Investigation 859 292 2323. The City engineer will test the area to ensure proper speed management is applied.
- Be vigilant and practice good pedestrian behavior. Cross at crosswalks or corners; don't step out into the middle of the road where cars are not looking for you. Teach children to do the same.
Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS) 189defines bicycles as vehicles and, as such, grants them the right to use roadways.
Bikes have right of way on public roads and should be given at least three feet of space when driving around.
Faster vehicles may only pass when there is reasonable clearance in the opposing lane.
At least three feet of space is recommended when passing bicyclists and the passing vehicles should move back into the right lane only when well clear of the bicyclist.
Watch for vehicles' right turns in front of you after they pass.
Bicyclists may ride away from the right side of the lane when passing other vehicles or when
making a left turn.
photo credit: Mikael Colville-Andersen