News and Tips

Vanpools Offer Commuter Relief
Vanpools Benefit Employers
Resisting Road Rage
Road Rage Aggression Busters
Biking Tips for Riders & Drivers
Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety

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Vanpools Offer Commuter Relief

Commute Solutions, the rideshare program for Santa Cruz County, is offering commuters an alternative to a stressful commute. Commute Solutions’ Vanpool Incentive Program gives commuters who help start a new vanpool $1000. New riders receive a $50 rebate when they try vanpooling for one month. Commute Solutions also subsidizes empty seats in vanpools for the first few months the vanpool is in operation.

Vanpools are cost effective for people with long commutes. The average annual cost for operating a car on a 40 mile commute ranges from $6,500 to $12,800 compared to riding in a vanpool where the annual costs average $1,440. And, vanpool expenses qualify for Commuter Choice Tax Benefits, for both employers and employees.

Vanpool riders reduce wear and tear on their own vehicles, can save up to $600 a month on commute costs, and arrive to work relaxed. And, if the commuter drives the new vanpool, the commute could be free.

For information, on vanpool programs, call Commute Solutions at (831) 429-POOL or visit the Regional Transportation Commission’s website at Check in with the TMA office for information on Commuter Choice tax benefits at 423-6231 or email Matt Miller.

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Vanpools Benefit Employers

A commuter vanpool program is an employee benefit that makes a lot of sense. You can provide employees with a transportation option that is easy, reliable, safe, and can lower the cost of their commute. The benefit to you: ride sharers are more likely to arrive to work relaxed, on-time, and ready for a productive day.

Expand your labor market and enhance your image.
Vanpools can make it easier for you to recruit employees from a larger geographic area by offering easy access to your workplace. Vanpools will also provide your company with recognition as an organization that is a concerned and enlightened community leader.

Reduce your parking requirements.
One vanpool can eliminate as many as fourteen cars from your parking lot and reduce the need to provide and maintain new spaces.

Retain valued employees.
If your company moves to a new location, some of your employees may find that their daily commute has become much longer.

Vanpools can help you offer valued employees a way to translate this longer commute into a positive and beneficial experience. And if you can retain these employees, you can avoid the cost of recruiting and training new employees.

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Resisting Road Rage
by Michael Mawson and Jim Langley

We’ve all read the stories of aggressive drivers, and the resulting road rage sometimes leading to death. In fact, according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Association, aggressive driving accounts for two-thirds of fatal traffic accidents and the number has been increasing for the past four years. It’s estimated that the cost is 28,000 lives per year.

And, this doesn’t account for the damage it is doing to communities. In many areas, it’s hardly safe to walk a dog or go for a bicycle ride as speeding commuters routinely shortcut through neighborhoods. Late-for-school moms roll through stop signs, many neglect to signal turns and refuse to stop at crosswalks, and countless rush-hour Mario Andretti’s race through red lights in a game of Russian roulette where the victim is often the other guy.

It’s no wonder some people “lose it” when driving. But, experts say that this is not the answer. Leon James, professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii studies aggressive driving and road rage. He says that drivers need “emotional intelligence training” to gain the ability to “let go of a desire to punish and retaliate against the other driver.”

Perhaps this will someday be part of driver’s education or the driver’s license exam. For now, try abiding by the aggression-busters offered by the Community Traffic Safety Coalition.

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Road Rage Aggression Busters
Ten Things You Can Do

  1. Practice courtesy. Try yielding the right-of-way regularly, even when it’s yours – you’ll be surprised how good you feel.
  2. Get in the habit of signaling turns and lane changes. It’s dangerous and inconsiderate not to do so.
  3. Use the left lane on the highway only to pass and pull into the right lane ASAP to let others pass you.
  4. Don’t tailgate. You will be at fault if you hit the vehicle in front of you.
  5. Slow down in neighborhoods and around pedestrians and bicyclists, and only pass when it is safe to do so.
  6. Forget winning. Driving is not a contest.
  7. Practice tolerance. We’re all human and all make mistakes.
  8. Avoid reacting when someone makes a dangerous move. Don’t allow the poor behavior of others affect how you drive. Remember than you can only control your own driving.
  9. Avoid confrontations by ignoring gestures and avoiding eye contact with aggressive drivers. Confrontations usually accomplish nothing and can lead to violence. Instead, report the vehicle’s license number to authorities.
  10. Lead by example. Set a good example for others, especially your kids, so that the roads of tomorrow will be filled with courteous drivers.

For more information about the activities of the Community Traffic Safety Coalition, you can contact them at:
P.O. Box 962, Santa Cruz, CA 95061, 831.454.4141

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Biking Tips for Riders and Drivers

What Cyclists Would Like Motorists to Know

  • Cyclists are more vulnerable than motorists. Drivers have the major responsibility to take care. Rain, wind, and poor visibility make conditions for cyclists worse.
  • Cyclists can feel threatened by inconsiderate driving. Cyclists have a right to space on the road and need extra room where cars change speed, position and direction.
  • Cyclists ride away from the curb, not to annoy motorists, but to:
    • avoid drains, potholes and debris,
    • be seen as they come to intersections,
    • discourage drivers from squeezing past where the road is too narrow,
    • to transition to make a left turn.
  • Cyclists turning left are exposed and need extra consideration from motorists. This is especially true on multi-lane roads, with fast-moving traffic.
  • Cyclists can be forced into faster traffic. When parked vehicles of other objects block the bike lane, cyclists must move into the adjacent lane to pass the potential hazzard
  • Cyclists are blinded by full-beam headlights, like everyone else.
  • Cyclists can be fast movers. Cyclists can travel up to 20 m.p.h. or more.

What Motorists Would Like Cyclists to Know

  • Motorists get upset when cyclists ignore traffic laws. Common violations include cyclists riding without lights at night, ignoring red traffic lights, riding against the traffic, or hopping on and off the curb.
  • Motorists may not notice all the hazards that are noticeable to a cyclist. This is because drivers are typically traveling at a faster speed than cyclists.
  • Motorists may not always see cyclists.
  • Motorists are alarmed by cyclists’ unusual movements, such as when cyclists seem hesitant, move into traffic suddenly, or zigzag around potholes.
  • Motorists can feel delayed by cyclists. This is especially true when bicyclists are riding 2 or more abreast. Cyclists traveling slowly on rural highways should pull over to allow the faster moving vehicles to safely pass.
  • Motorists don’t always understand that some road surfaces, intersections, or traffic conditions cause problems for cyclists

Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Information

Contact Corinne Hyland at the Community Traffic Safety Coalition: 831-454-4141
or email at
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