Traffic & Safety Committee: February 2016 Safety Update

I would like to start by briefly reminding everyone to ensure that they shouldn’t leave valuables inside their cars when they are parked and left for even a minute. The general trend of car clouts, in the last few years, is to not force entry into a vehicle that is locked. So taking valuables with us, and then locking our cars is a smart precaution. The reason I mention this is that for the past several months we have received reports of at least a couple of vehicles a month being ransacked and property taken. There is no identified pattern or description of any suspects at this time. However, should anyone see people, seemingly without rhyme or reason, trying door handles on parked cars call our deputy sheriffs and alert them.
Hoverboards:
For many of us we first saw a hoverboard in the movie Back to the Future and it was operated by Michael J. Fox who used the levitating skateboard device as a mode of transportation similar to a Segway human transporter. This idea seemed like a great opportunity, and since that time, enterprising manufactures have been developing a host of self-balancing platforms with two wheels that are electronically propelled.
This could facilitate transportation from one location to another nearby location without the operators having to exert themselves. These devices initially proved to be popular in England and with students primarily attending east coast colleges. However, their safety has continued to be questioned. Since their introduction in England they been temporarily banned, and their use has been stopped or curtailed at many of the universities on the east coast. It seems that stability in close quarters and uneven surfaces are major safety concerns. Just recently, the coach of the Carolina Panthers issued an order forbidding his players from using these devices.
I recently spoke with an old time surfer who described this platformed device as a skateboard that travels sideways.
Without doing much research he bought his teenage son one as a gift. Of course the young man was thrilled, but only momentarily. The family soon learned that the son was too young according to the new law to operate the device in a public place. It seems that for the next two years he is going to have to be content operating his hoverboard inside his house or go to a private property.
Effective January 1, Assembly Bill #604, went into effect and technically legalized Electrically Motorized Boards (EMBs). They aren’t hoverboards as they don’t levitate. Briefly, the new law set standards for the EMBs and operators: It is quite clear now that all operators of these boards must be at least 16 years old and wear a bicycle helmet (Section 21291 Cal V.C.); The speed limit while operating
EMBs is 15 MPH; They may not be operated on a roadway where the speed limit is greater than 35 MPH; if they are to be operated during hours of darkness the operator must have or wear a white light in front that is visible 300′ and a red light visible 500′ feet to the rear, in addition to two white or yellow lights visible 200′ to either side.
Note: our rules and regulations prohibit the use of devices such a EMBs from being operated on our sidewalks, common areas and walkways.
The state Fire Marshal’s office has issued warnings regarding EMBs or Self Balancing Scooters, and their
potential to burst into a fire. It appears that the prime time of concern is during the period when the batteries are being charged. They suggest that the charging phase be monitored during its entirety.
I suggest that the entire warning by the marshal be reviewed before storing the device.
Drones:
Drone activity is expected to pick up in the next few months and several folks have asked about restrictions on this activity that has the potential to pose a safety issue and become an annoyance. Contact with a flying drone can well cause a serious injury to a person or damage to a property.
Some laws reflect that a property owner has a right to airspace a certain height immediately above his property but other decisions counter that. The final authority on the topic, for the time being, is the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). To ensure for the best possible control of drones all must be registered with the FAA by February 16, 2016. The FAA requires commercial drone users actually have a pilots license, and places careful restrictions over them. However, for the recreational drone users they require that they must use common sense and follow safety guidelines which restricts flights to below 400 feet, keeps the device within line of sight of the operator and not fly it over unprotected people or cars.
—Tim Murphy

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