Parking remains free for disabled placard, license plate holders

Dear Street Smarts, Q: With all the talk of parking meter rate increases in Santa Cruz, how will this effect those with handicap parking placards or plates? Have not seen that mentioned in any of the Sentinel articles. Thanks, Jack Samuelson, via email A: Parking for folks with a disabled placard or plate remains free, said Marlin Granlund, parking office manager for the city of Santa Cruz. Q: West Cliff Drive's pathway is already crowded with walkers and bikes. Yesterday, I was astonished to run across a line of Segways traveling faster than the traffic on the road on the already crowded path. What gives? This is clearly a danger. What are motorized vehicles doing there? Michele D'Amico, via email A: First off, Seqways, two wheeled electronic mobility devices, are considered pedestrians by the California Vehicle Code and are governed by the same laws that cover elective wheelchairs. In fact, "they are regulated under the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission as a 'consumer product,' rather than under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration," said Sgt. Scott Garner, traffic unit supervisor for the Santa Cruz Police Department. Garner hasn't seen many complaints about the Segway Santa Cruz company at 302 Pacific Ave. The few he has seen "revolved around people not wanting Segways on the multi-use path," he said. The sergeant has met with the business owners many times and while the Segways have a top speed of 12.5 mph, riders are capped at "5 mph at all times," he said. "I personally go for bike rides and walks daily with my family on West Cliff Drive," said Garner. "I have seen the Segway tours both on and off duty on countless occasions. I have never seen them traveling at speeds greater than a fast walk but slower than most bicycles. In all of my time on the multi-use pathway, I’ve seen more issues with bicyclists than Segways." Responsible Gaming Education Week This week is Responsible Gaming Education Week and the American Gaming Association and KidsAndCars.org are teaming up to make sure the safety of gamers' children is at the forefront. The new partnership aims to protect children, educate gaming industry security personnel and share best practices on preventing minors from being left unattended in vehicles. Each year, an average of 38 children die in hot cars from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside motor vehicles. So far this year, about 20 children have lost their lives after being left in a hot car. Even in mold weather, vehicle interiors can reach deadly temperatures in a matter of minutes. For information, visit KidsAndCars.org.
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