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Police Launch Extra Traffic Enforcement Efforts

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By Lookout Staff

August 30, 2023 -- As Labor Day weekend approaches, Santa Monica traffic officers are cracking down on behaviors responsible for collisions involving motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

The Bike & Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operations are taking place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., Police Department officials said.

"Traffic officers will be on duty patrolling areas where bike and pedestrian traffic and collisions occur in an effort to lower deaths and injuries," Police Department officials said.

"Officers will be looking for violations committed by drivers, bike riders and pedestrians alike that can lead to life changing injuries."

The violations include speeding, making illegal turns, failing to yield or provide right of way to bicyclists or pedestrians, or failing to stop for signs and signals.

Bicyclists must follow similar traffic laws as motorists, must travel in the same direction of traffic and have the same requirements as any slow moving vehicle, police said.

They should avoid riding too close to parked cars and use available bike lanes unless making a left turn, passing or approaching a place where a right turn is allowed.

Bicyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within marked crosswalks or within unmarked crosswalks at intersections.

All cyclists should always wear a helmet, while those under 18 years of age must wear them by law.

Pedestrians should cross the street only in marked crosswalks or at corners, look for cars backing up and avoid walking between parked cars, police said.

They also should make eye contact with drivers and never assume a driver sees them.

"Do not walk or run into the path of a vehicle," police officials said. "At 30 mph, a driver needs at least 90 feet to stop."

Pedestrians also should wear bright clothing during the day and use a flashlight when walking at night.

Meanwhile, drivers must wait for pedestrians to cross the street, be courteous and patient and stay off the phone.

They also should look for pedestrians when backing up, turning at intersections or entering or exiting shopping centers.

The operations come as national transportation data show that fatal traffic accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians increased during the first nine months of last year.

While the fatality rate for people dying in cars was down, deaths rose 2 percent for pedestrians, 5 percent for motorcyclists and 8 percent for cyclists, the data show.

Funding for the Bike and Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operations is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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