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Pedestrian Bike Safety Police  Operation Set For Friday

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

February 20, 2015 -- With the number of pedestrians and bicyclists growing, Santa Monica police will rollout extra officers Friday to focus on collisions that involve them instead of concentrating primarily on vehicles, police said.

“We used to assume it was the car’s fault,” said Santa Monica Police Traffic Detective Jason Olson. “Now, we’re seeing other factors from bicyclists and pedestrians. There are more of them.  We have a city that really encourages that and it’s great for the environment. But be responsible.”

Santa Monica police have issued 275 citations since October as a result of stepped-up enforcement of traffic laws involving pedestrians and bicyclists, he said.

Friday’s rollout will be the eleventh since October; 30 are planned over the next several months, Olson said.

It comes at a time when officers are seeing a switch in who is found at fault in accidents. Previously, Olson said, police tended to focus primarily on vehicles as the main culprit in collisions. But with the rising popularity of cycling and walking, the fault is becoming more mixed, he said.

He noted that bike riders will be stopped and citations issued when they fail to follow the same traffic laws that apply to motorists.

A statement from the department also said special attention this time, as in the past, will be paid to pedestrians who cross the street illegally, or fail to yield to drivers who have the right of way.

Olson said not wearing a helmet if you’re under the age of 18 will get you a citation. So will riding your bike on a sidewalk – a particular problem on the 3rd street Promenade lately, he said.

Officers will also target vehicles speeding, making illegal turns, failing to stop for signs and signals and failing to yield to pedestrians in cross walks and similar violations, the department’s statement said.

Although officers do not detail where they will be out in force, the department has mapped out locations over the last five years where pedestrian and bike collisions are prevalent, along with the violations that led to those collisions.

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