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Police to Conduct Bike-Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operations  

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By Lookout Staff

January 6, 2017 -- On Friday and again on Monday, Santa Monica police will be on the lookout for bicyclists and pedestrians violating traffic laws in the city's increasingly busy streets.

The Bike and Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operations will take place both days from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at "locations where bike and pedestrian collisions are prevalent," said Lt. Saul Rodriguez, a police department spokesman.

"Officers will be on the lookout for violations by drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians that can potentially lead to life altering injuries," Rodriguez said in a statement.

"Special enforcement efforts will be directed towards drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to stop for signs and signals, failing to yield to pedestrians in cross walks and similar dangerous violations."

Santa Monica launched its Bike and Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operations in June 2015 to help reduce accidents in a city that encourages walking and bicycling as alternatives to the car.

Over the previous three years, 874 people had been killed or injured in Santa Monica in collisions involving bikes and pedestrians, police said when launching the program ("Santa Monica Police Focus on Bike, Pedestrian Safety," June 9, 2015).

The arrival of the Expo light rail last May and the official launching in November 2015 of Santa Monica's bike share program have contributed to a flood of new pedestrians and bicyclists, particularly on congested downtown streets.

In October, The Metropolitan Transportation Authority added more cars to accommodate growing ridership to Santa Monica, going from nine trains with three cars each to 18 trains with two cars.

Last November, City officials reported that Breeze patrons had taken 285,000 trips and logged more than 618,000 miles in the program's first year. The City’s goal is to reach 370,000 trips a year on Breeze bikes. ("Santa Monica “Breeze” Bike Share Celebrates First Birthday," November 14, 2016).

In a report to the City Council last June, Police Chief Jaqueline Seabrooks said the department had increased enforcement, analysis of traffic patterns and education in an “era of increasing traffic volume” ("Santa Monica Streets Getting Busier, Police Chief Says," June 24, 2016).

The force’s Traffic Services Section includes a lieutenant, a sergeant and ten officers, eight of whom patrol the City on motorcycles and are responsible for traffic-related investigations, as well as 89 part- and full-time service officers and crossing guards, Seabrooks said.

Bicyclists who fail to follow traffic laws that apply to motorists will be issued citations, police said. They should always wear a helmet, and those under 18 years of age must wear helmets by law.

Pedestrians should cross the street only in marked crosswalks or at corners.

Funding for the Bike and Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operations is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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