Police Crack Down on Traffic Violations for ‘Safety Enforcement Operation'

California pedestrian deaths have been higher than the national average

The San Diego Police Department conducted an enforcement operation Monday to prevent increased crashes between pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers.

Over the past three years, SDPD mapped out the locations of pedestrian- and bicyclist-involved collisions and what caused them. In that time, thousands of collisions were investigated by SDPD.

Locations that had three or more collisions in the past three years were then targeted Monday to try and prevent further traffic violations that could result in deaths or injuries.

Monday's operation focused on the central areas of the county, including downtown, the Gaslamp District, and Logan Heights, according to Officer Mark McCullough, a spokesperson for SDPD.

Three officers and a sergeant took time on their days off to patrol the county as part of the operation, McCullough said.

They recorded over 137 violations and 27 warnings, most of which were drivers, some pedestrians, and very few were bicyclist, according to McCullough.

Everyone who was given a ticket or warning was also given an educational pamphlet.

Officers looked for drivers who were speeding, making illegal turns, not stopping at signs and signals, and not yielding to pedestrians, according to SDPD.

They also looked for pedestrians who were jaywalking.

California saw over 700 pedestrian deaths in 2013. It made up 23-percent of all roadway deaths that year, 8-percent higher than the national average, according to SDPD.

Only 60-percent of pedestrians said they expect drivers to stop when they're in crosswalks, even though they have the right-of-way, according to a national study.

Routine traffic patrols also focused on scooter and other non-motorized-vehicle riders.

SDPD provided a list of safety tips for all commuters:

  • Drivers should slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or entering a crosswalk where pedestrians are likely to be.
  • Drivers should be cautious when backing up pedestrians, especially young children, can move across your path.
  • Drivers should be courteous; California law now mandates at least three feet of clearance when passing a bike riders.
  • Bicyclists 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.
  • To be noticed when biking at night, the law requires a front light and a red reflector to the rear
  • Pedestrians should walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible if there is no sidewalk.
  • Make eye contact with drivers as they approach. Never assume a driver sees you.

The enforcement operation, which lasted from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., was funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety.

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