The Bakersfield Police Department will increase pedestrian safety enforcement operations during the month of December with focused enforcement on collision causing factors involving motorists and pedestrians.
Routine traffic patrols will focus efforts in trouble spots, while special targeted patrols will also be deployed to crackdown on drivers and pedestrians who violate traffic laws meant to protect all roadway users.
The department has mapped out locations over the past three years where pedestrian involved collisions have occurred along with the violations that led to those crashes. Officers will be looking for traffic offenses made by drivers and pedestrians alike that can lead to life changing injuries.
Special attention will be directed toward drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to stop for signs and signals, failing to yield to pedestrians in cross walks or any other dangerous violation. Additionally, enforcement will be taken for observed violations when pedestrians cross the street illegally or fail to yield to drivers who have the right of way. Pedestrians should cross the street only in marked crosswalks or intersections.
Pedestrian fatalities are rising in California as more people use non-motorized means of transportation. Locally, Bakersfield Police Department has investigated 34 fatal and 356 injury collisions involving pedestrians during the past three years.
A national study reveals that pedestrians and drivers do not obey laws and signals consistently and many often use cell phones, text and listen to music while walking or driving. Only 60 percent of pedestrians said they expected drivers to stop when they were in crosswalks, even though they have the right-of-way.
The following safety tips can save lives and stop this tragedy witnessed far too often in Bakersfield.
- 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 as far from traffic as possible if there is no sidewalk.
- 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.