BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - 21 pedestrians have been killed in 2017 in the Bakersfield area. That's not including ones that have been investigated in the county by the California Highway Patrol.
Thursday, Bakersfield Police had extra officers enforcing dangerous areas to educate pedestrians and drivers.
During the enforcement BPD officers issued tickets for illegally crossing the road, riding a bike on the wrong side of the road and running a red light.
Thursday was the third and final day of extra enforcement for pedestrian safety enforcement.
Officer Tommy Wahl stopped a pedestrian and asked him, "Any reason you're jumping back and forth across Union [Avenue] in front of cars, man?" Officer Wahl continued , "So we're out here to do a little extra enforcement alright. We prefer to talk to you right now than go to the car where you've been hit and seriously injured or killed or anything like that."
Thursday Bakersfield Police officers focused on Union Avenue between Truxtun Avenue and Sumner Street. To avoid getting a ticket or getting hit by a car, officers say pedestrians should cross at crosswalks, marked or unmarked intersections and look before they walk. Also it's not worth running across traffic to save time.
"You'll be way more late if you get hit by a car than if you walked in a crosswalk," said Officer Wahl.
Police say often times, it's the pedestrian at fault in the crash. Police say typically in this case, the driver would not face charges, unless other situations apply, like if drugs or alcohol were a factor.
The reason for the extra enforcement, officers said it's to educate the public on preventable collisions where a car hits and kills a pedestrian.
Bakersfield Police's spokesman, Sgt. Ryan Kroeker said, "Often times there's a law violation that is committed that which ultimately lead to that.. So take your time."
Officer Wahl said most of the time, the tickets and education work. But not always.
While one a call Officer Wahl said, "We're looking for two pedestrians that were just cited by a different traffic officer for crossing illegally. And as soon as he was done and left the area, they crossed the road again."
During the three day extra enforcement officers said they gave out 147 citations; 68 to pedestrians, 67 to drivers; and 12 to bicyclists.
Officers said in 2016 867 pedestrians were killed on California roads. They also suggest these tips to help prevent pedestrian-vehicle collisions:
- Look out for pedestrians, especially in hard-to-see conditions such as at night or in bad weather.
- Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or entering a crosswalk where pedestrians are likely to be.
- Stop at the crosswalk stop line to give drivers in other lanes an opportunity to see and yield to the pedestrians too.
- Be cautious when backing up – pedestrians, especially young children, can move across your path.
- Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road, cross at crosswalks or intersections, and obey signs and signals.
- Walk facing traffic, and if there is no sidewalk, walk as far from traffic as possible.
- Pay attention to the traffic moving around you. This is not the time to be texting or talking on a cell phone.
- Make eye contact with drivers as they approach. Never assume a driver sees you.
- Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective materials (or use a flashlight) at night.
- Look left-right-left before crossing a street.
Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.