In the spirit of the New Year, I thought it would be good to list my New Year’s walking, riding and driving resolutions. You may borrow them as your own. Note: As a police officer, it may be necessary to break some of these when I am responding to your urgent call for help, but I will always do it in a prudent manner. You shouldn’t, nor should I when I’m not on duty. Here goes:
1. I resolve to keep my mind on my driving when I am behind the wheel.
2. I resolve not to talk on the cellphone (or text!) when I am driving, even when stopped at a traffic signal; when I pull over to talk on the cellphone, I will not pull into the bike lane.
3. I resolve to stop before I reach the crosswalk, particularly if there is a pedestrian crossing.
4. I resolve to stop well before the sidewalk when leaving a parking lot.
5. I resolve to clear my windows of frost, ice or condensation before I drive.
6. I resolve to drive the speed limit, and particularly to watch for the 20 mph school zones.
7. I resolve to slow down and leave extra space when the road is wet or icy.
8. I resolve to allow extra time when the weather is bad.
9. I resolve to wear light-colored clothes or wear reflective gear when walking at night.
10. I resolve to watch what I’m doing when I’m walking, especially if I’m on my phone, texting or listening to music.
11. I resolve to periodically check my tires for wear and proper inflation.
12. I resolve to periodically check all of my lights to make sure they are working and aimed properly.
13. I resolve to respect all road users.
14. I resolve to retrain my brain to notice walkers, bicycles, and motorcycles.
15. I resolve to use my horn only as a warning, not to greet my friends or express anger.
16. I resolve to always check behind my car before backing up.
17. I resolve to always lock the car and take the key when I leave.
18. I resolve to use my mirrors to regularly check for traffic or emergency vehicles behind me.
19. I resolve to try to walk or bicycle for short trips when I don’t really need the car.
20. I resolve to let the other person have the closest parking space.
21. I resolve to never drive when under the influence or after taking medicine that says not to drive after taking.
22. I resolve to watch for other drivers, motorcyclists, walkers and bicyclists, knowing that a crash will be bad for all involved, regardless of who was in the right.
23. I resolve to obey traffic laws when I’m on my bike.
24. I resolve to treat other drivers, walkers, or riders as I want to be treated.
25. I resolve to turn on my headlights if it’s rainy or foggy.
26. I resolve to be prepared with emergency supplies if I am traveling in bad weather.
27. I resolve to use my turn signals whenever I’m changing lanes or turning into a driveway or onto a street.
28. I resolve to come to a complete stop at all stop signs and look both ways before proceeding.
29. I resolve not to stop or park my car on a sidewalk or crosswalk or in a bike lane or path.
30. I resolve not to park, or stop except momentarily in front of a driveway, within 10 feet of a fire hydrant, or within 20 feet of a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
31. I resolve to refrain from getting mad at other drivers, even if they are breaking the law or behaving inappropriately.
The length of this list may look intimidating but careful, considerate drivers, walkers, and cyclists already observe most of these practices most of the time. Let these resolutions serve as a reminder to stay attentive and courteous on the road as we all enjoy a happy and safe 2013.
Jim Burge is chief of the Roseburg Police Department. He can be reached at email@example.com.