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Summer Safety in Meridian

Safety on our roads remains a concern from our community. I hear it. Our Police Department hears it. Our transportation partners hear it. We work with the Ada County Highway District and the Idaho Transportation Department to address safety improvements which can be minor from a stop sign, to major like a new road. Sometimes these changes can be fast, other times it can take years, but when completed we all can generally appreciate the investment.


Our built infrastructure is important and necessary to help improve safety, however the biggest safety concern on our roads from the community remains those of us behind the wheel. We have all seen drivers texting, speeding, or running red lights. More recently, we are seeing concerns from residents about golf carts being driven on pathways or major roadways where they aren’t allowed or by drivers who aren’t licensed. 


As I said during my State of the City, I firmly believe our Meridian Police Department is the best in the Nation and stands above the rest. Their Traffic Unit has a proactive focus of education and enforcement regarding roadway safety, particularly on known violations that cause crashes - speeding, distracted driving, and signal violations. While this is their goal they can’t be everywhere - all the time, and many times they are called to reported vehicle crashes and responding to investigate, taking them away from enforcement efforts.


I wanted to take a moment and share some information – either as a reminder, or perhaps new information for people new to Idaho.  Under Idaho statutes, we have a law about permissive yellow lights. This means that as long as your front bumper enters the intersection while the light is still yellow, it is not considered running a red light. That said, it does not mean it is safe, and drivers should not enter the intersection once the light has turned red. Large intersections, such as Eagle and Fairview, greatly feed into this challenge as it takes a driver much longer to go through an intersection than a smaller intersection. It is not uncommon during rush hour for another road’s light to turn green and there are still vehicles within the intersection who just received a red light.


That being said, drivers should never increase speed to get through an intersection that has turned yellow, this is truly setting everyone at that intersection up for potential hazards. It’s about timing, distance and speed, all of which we need to be mindful of. This law can be challenging for everyone, so please be aware of the status of lights, and slow down as the lights turn yellow, and wait for the next green light.


Additionally, I know we all want our kids to have fun, but we also want them to be safe.  Many families have been joining the golf cart craze – mine included. While Idaho law permits golf carts to be used on some roads, there are some important reminders when using them in Meridian. Golf carts may be operated on city streets so long as they are titled, registered, and insured, and the operator is a licensed driver. However, golf carts are not allowed on roads with speeds limits posted over 35 mile per hour or sidewalks, and they should not be on pathways. Let’s all be mindful of this information as we see an increase in use of these smaller, more exposed vehicles.


As we continue to invest in your police department with more officers who will be focused on road safety and enforcement, we are also collaborating with our partners in transportation with public safety announcements to engage drivers. However, for our roads to be safe it takes action from all of us. Be respectful and courteous on the roadways. Take a little more time in your travels, stay focused on the road, pay attention to other drivers and follow the posted speeds. Together we can increase safety and prevent accidents which is a win for everyone.

About the author

Mayor Simison

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