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Police to Be on Lookout for Traffic Violations that Lead Serious Injuries


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By Lookout Staff

April 30, 2024 -- Santa Monica police will be on the lookout Friday for those who violate traffic laws leading to collisions involving motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists that result in .serious injuries.

The extra enforcement efforts will take place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at "locations where pedestrian and bike collisions are prevalent," police officials said.

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

"These 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."

The enforcement efforts come as pedestrian deaths have risen, with three persons having died this year after being struck by motorists ("Pedestrian Killed in Crash Near Pier," April 1, 2024).

Crashes involving pedestrians that resulted in injuries have spiked in the city after a steep drop in 2020 due to the COVID shutdown, according to data from the Transportation Department.

There were 54 injury crashes in 2020, followed by 81 in 2021 and 95 in 2022. Data for last year have not been released.

Meanwhile, the number of "injury-causing crashes" involving cyclists has dropped -- from some 150 in 2012 to 72 this year, the data show ("Bicyclists Share Fault in Serious Crashes, Data Show," December 14, 2023).

The rise in collisions involving pedestrians -- as well as high profile crashes involving bicyclists -- have prompted the Council to act and police to boost traffic safety operations ("Bicycle Safety Focus of Council Item, Police Operation," November 13, 2023).

Police officials remind bicyclists that they 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.

They should also 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.

Police advise pedestrians to "be predictable," "use crosswalks, when available and "be extra careful crossing streets or entering crosswalks at night."

Under bill AB 2147, signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in September 2022, pedestrians are allowed to cross a street against a traffic light or outside a crosswalk without receiving a ticket.

Under the "Freedom to Walk Act," officers can cite pedestrians only if there is an immediate hazard.

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

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