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Police to Hold Traffic Safety Operations Friday

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By Lookout Staff

May 3, 2023 -- Santa Monica police on Friday will conduct traffic safety operations to crack down on drivers who put the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists at risk and to curb behavior that leads to motorcycle crashes.

The bicycle and pedestrian operation -- which will take place from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. -- will focus on the most dangerous driver behaviors, which include speeding and making illegal turns, Police Department officials said.

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They also include failing to yield or provide right of way to bicyclists or pedestrians, or failing to stop for signs and signals.

“We all have places to be and not everyone gets there by car,"
officials said. "Bicyclists and pedestrians have the same rights to the road but face even more risk without the protections vehicles have. We should all be looking out for one another.”

Pedestrians are advised to use available crosswalks, look out for approaching vehicles and be visible by wearing light colors and reflective material.

They also should carry a flashlight, especially at dawn, dusk or at night and be extra careful crossing streets or entering crosswalks at night.

Drivers are advised to follow the speed limit and slow down at intersections, avoid blocking crosswalks while waiting to make a right-hand turn and never drive when impaired.

Bicyclists should obey traffic laws, use hand signals, wear a helmet and use a front white light and rear red reflector light at night.

They also must travel in the same direction of traffic and have the same requirements as any slow-moving vehicle, avoid riding too close to parked cars and use a bike lane when it is available.

Like motorists, bicyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within marked crosswalks or within unmarked crosswalks at intersections.

The Police Department on Friday also will have extra officers on patrol looking for violations that involve motorcycles.

"The top primary crash factors for motorcycles are unsafe speed, improper turning, right-of-way violations, driving under the influence and unsafe lane changes." officials said.

"Speeding is the most common, accounting for nearly a third of all crashes in the state."

Drivers should always check twice for motorcycles in their mirrors and blind spots and never follow a motorcycle too closely, officials said.

Motorcyclists should always wear a DOT compliant helmet and protective gear, consider adding reflective tape to make them easier to see and always keep their lights on, even during the day.

"Although lane splitting is legal, the practice is not encouraged at high speeds in free-flowing traffic," officials said.

SMPD will hold other motorcycle safety enforcement operations during the rest of the month.

Funding for the two programs is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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