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Police on Lookout for Traffic Violations that Put Pedestrians, Bicyclists At Risk

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Lookout Staff

March 11, 2020 -- Santa Monica police will conduct the first of six operations on Friday to enforce traffic laws that help keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe, Department officials said.

Friday's Bike and Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operation will take place from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. at undisclosed locations, police announced Wednessday.

The effort will focus on places where police have found "bike and pedestrian collisions are prevalent, along with the violations that led to those collisions," said Lt. Rob Blicharski, a Police Department spokesperson.

Similar enforcement operations will follow every Monday and Friday through March 30, Blicharski said.

Officers patrolling the high-risk areas will be on the lookout for violations by drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians "that can potentially lead to life altering injuries," officials said.

"Special enforcement efforts will be directed towards drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to stop for signs and signals, failing to yield to pedestrians in cross walks and similar dangerous violations."

Pedestrians should cross the street only in marked crosswalks or at corners, police said.

Bicyclists are encouraged to always wear a helmet. Those under 18 years of age must wear helmets by law.

There have been two pedestrian deaths in Santa Monica this year, the same number as in all of last year

Santa Monica had no pedestrian deaths in 2018, after recording eight fatalities in 2017 ("Eighth Pedestrian Killed This Year in Santa Monica," November 21, 2017).

The City took measures to curb the trend by boosting funding to make the city's busy streets safer and hiring a “Vision Zero czar” ("Santa Monica City Council Calls for Safe Streets 'Czar,'” May 11, 2017).

According to a recent report, the number of pedestrians killed in vehicle crashes nationwide "has grown sharply," reaching its highest level since 1990 two years ago ("Number of Pedestrians Killed in Crashes Nationwide Growing Sharply, Report Finds," February 28, 2020).

The study by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) estimates there were 6,227 pedestrian fatalities nationwide in 2018, a four-percent increase over the 5,977 deaths the previous year.

Santa Monica ranked near the top of the list of Los Angeles County cities with the most pedestrian crashes and injuries in 2018, according to a recent report by a personal injury law firm ("Santa Monica Ranks Third in County for Pedestrian Crashes, Injuries," December 9, 2019).

The beach city ranked third in both crashes and injuries -- with 90 and 91 respectively -- behind only Los Angeles and Long Beach, according to the study by Pollard Bailey based on CHP Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System crash data.

Santa Monica, however, had a higher rate per capita than the two much larger cities, according to an analysis of the data by the Lookout.

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