San Diego Police Department conducts pedestrian and bicycle safety enforcement operations

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego police are trying to make the streets safer by reducing the number of pedestrian, bicycle and scooter collisions.

On Wednesday, police officers assigned to a special detail were looking for pedestrians, bicyclists and scooter riders who were violating the law. KUSI met the team in Little Italy, one of the neighborhoods with the most collisions.

Over the last three years, the San Diego Police Department has investigated thousands of collisions city-wide that resulted in injuries or death. Sergeant Bob McDonald said in 2018, there have been 32 pedestrian fatalities to date. We watched as officers cited one man in Little Italy for failing to use a crosswalk.

“We’re looking for pedestrians who are walking into traffic, jaywalking, bicycles blowing intersections bcause bicycles have to follow the rules of the road too, and a lot of bicycles will just go right through the intersection,” McDonald said.

Much of the special operation was carried out by officers on foot, but officers can cover a broader area when patrolling by car. We took a ride with one officer as he cruised through the Gaslamp Quarter.

Officer Adam Devor was scanning the streets for all kinds of violations, including those by drivers who were distracted by texting or talking on the phone.

In what appeared to be a common offense, Devor gave tickets to two people for riding scooters on the sidewalk.

By law, the motorized scooters are only permitted to be used on the street. Not every encounter resulted in a citation.

Officers also issued warnings, as another means of educating people about safety laws. The targeted patrols are funded through a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, which applies money from federal highway safety funds for all kinds of traffic enforcement, including DUI patrols and checkpoints.

The video below shows one man riding on the sidewalk and receiving a citation.

The San Diego Police Department’s press release outlining the operation can be read below:

San Diego Police Department will be conducting a bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement operations on Wednesday 12-12-18 from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm with focused enforcement on collision causing factors involving motorists, bicyclist and pedestrians.  Routine traffic patrols will focus efforts in trouble spots while special targeted patrols in Central Division’s will also be deployed to crackdown on drivers, pedestrians, bicyclist and scooter riders who violate traffic laws meant to protect all roadway users.

The department has mapped out locations over the past 3 years where pedestrian and bicycle involved collisions have occurred along with the violations that led to those crashes.  Officers will be looking for traffic offenses made by drivers, bicyclist and pedestrians alike that can lead to life changing injuries.  Special attention will be directed toward drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to stop for signs and signals, failing to yield to pedestrians in cross walks or any other dangerous violation.  Additionally, enforcement will be taken for observed violations when pedestrians cross the street illegally or fail to yield to drivers who have the right of way. Pedestrians should cross the street only in marked crosswalks or intersections.

Pedestrian fatalities are rising in California as more people use non-motorized means of transportation.  Locally, the San Diego police Department has investigated 1000’s of fatal and injury collisions involving Bicyclist and pedestrians during the past three (3) years. In 2013, California witnessed 701 pedestrian deaths accounting for over 23 percent of all roadway fatalities, much higher than the national average of 15 percent.

A national study reveals that pedestrians and drivers do not obey laws and signals consistently and many often use cell phones, text and listen to music while walking or driving. Only 60 percent of pedestrians said they expected drivers to stop when they were in crosswalks, even though they have the right-of-way.

The following safety tips can save lives and stop this tragedy witnessed far too often in San Diego

Drivers can:

  • Look out for bicyclist and pedestrians and scooter riders especially in hard-to-see conditions such as at night or in bad weather.
  • Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or entering a crosswalk where pedestrians are likely to be.
  • Stop at the crosswalk stop line to give drivers in other lanes an opportunity to see and yield to the pedestrians too.
  • Be cautious when backing up – pedestrians, especially young children, can move across your path
  • ‘Share the road’ with bicyclists
  • Be courteous; California law now mandates at least three feet of clearance when passing a bike riders
  • Look for cyclists before opening a car door or pulling out from a parking space
  • Yield to cyclists at intersections and as directed by signs and signals

Be especially watchful for riders when making turns, either left or right.

Bicyclists:

  • Wear properly fitted bicycle helmets every time they ride. If under 18 years of age, it’s the law
  • A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash
  • Riders are considered vehicle operators; they are required to obey the same rules of the road as other vehicle operators, including obeying traffic signs, signals, and lane markings.
  • When cycling in the street, cyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • Bicyclists should increase their visibility to drivers by wearing fluorescent or brightly colored clothing during the day, and at dawn and dusk
  • To be noticed when riding at night, the law requires a front light and a red reflector to the rear
  • For additional safety, use a flashing rear light, and use retro-reflective tape or markings on equipment or clothing

Pedestrians can:

  • Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road, cross at crosswalks or intersections, and obey signs and signals.
  • Walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible if there is no sidewalk.
  • Pay attention to the traffic moving around you. This is not the time to be texting or talking on a cell phone.
  • Make eye contact with drivers as they approach. Never assume a driver sees you.
  • Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective materials (or use a flashlight) at night.

Look left-right-left before crossing a street.

Scooter Riders:

  • Wear properly fitted helmets every time they ride, it’s the law
  • A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a Scooter crash
  • Riders are considered vehicle operators; they are required to obey the same rules of the road as other vehicle operators, including obeying traffic signs, signals, and lane markings.
  • When cycling in the street, cyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • Scooter operators should increase their visibility to drivers by wearing fluorescent or brightly colored clothing during the day, and at dawn and dusk
  • To be noticed when riding at night, the law requires a front light and a red reflector to the rear
  • No passengers are allowed on any scooter, the driver is the only person allowed on the scooter.

All operators are required to 15 and ½ and possess a valid driver’s permit.

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Categories: Local San Diego News

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