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Police to Hold Bicycle Safety Operation


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By Lookout Staff

February 7, 2024 -- Santa Monica police on Thursday are conducting an enforcement operation focused on "primary collision factors involving motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists."

The operation will take place at from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at "locations where pedestrian and bike collisions are prevalent, along with the violations that led to those collisions," police officials said.

It has been one month since the last operation, as the City boosts its efforts to protect cyclists from accidents involving cars that result in "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, police said.

The renewed safety efforts come after a bicyclist was killed by a car on 19th Street and Idaho Avenue in October, prompting immediate action by City officials.

They include installing four-way stop signs at dangerous intersections and taking initial steps to place a general tax on the November ballot to help boost bicycle safety ("Council Takes Up Tax to Boost Traffic Safety," December 18, 2023).

The initiatives are part of the City's accelerated efforts to achieve "Vision Zero," a policy adopted in February of 2016 "to eliminate all fatal and severe-injury crashes" over the coming decades.

They come amid a dramatic drop in the number of "injury-causing crashes" involving cyclists -- from some 150 in 2012 to 72 last year, according to accident data provided by the City.

Bicyclists and motorists involved in serious crashes since 2010 have been almost equally at fault, while the number of incidents has plummeted, according to the data ("Bicyclists Share Fault in Serious Crashes, Data Show," December 14, 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.

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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