Q. I see people who walk or jog in the street. Isn’t that illegal?
A. In a residential area it is not illegal to walk or jog in the roadway. Pedestrians may walk or jog in the roadway in a residential neighborhood as long as the pedestrian does not limit the right of way of vehicles or prohibit the lawful movement of vehicles. Pedestrians in the roadway in a residential area bear the main responsibility to ensure they are out of the way of vehicles. However, the vehicle code requires both the pedestrian and the driver to show mutual care and safety. The pedestrian, “Shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway so near as to constitute an immediate hazard.” The law also directs the drivers to show due care, “This section shall not relieve the driver of a vehicle from the duty to exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian upon a roadway. In Santa Monica, “Jaywalking” does not apply in a residential area.
In a business district, pedestrians can only be in the roadway in a crosswalk. Walking, jogging, or crossing the street outside of a marked crosswalk would be, “Jaywalking.”
It is always illegal to walk or jog in a marked bike lane in a roadway.
Traffic safety is everyone’s responsibility. Here are a few pedestrian safety tips:
• Allow vehicles enough time to stop. Don’t assert the right of way with a fast moving vehicle.
• Make eye contact with drivers, but don’t assume they will yield.
• Cross at intersections and in a straight line. Crossing mid-block or from between two parked cars is unsafe because drivers can’t see you and aren’t expecting you. When crossing at a signal controlled intersection, cross only on a green light or when the “walk” sign is activated; the walk sign may change but the light is timed to give you enough time to continue on safely before opposing traffic approaches.
• Stop, look and listen before crossing. Just like when you were a kid, look right and left over your shoulder before crossing, checking for cars and bicycles. Bicycles are required to obey road rules just like cars.
• Use extra care when crossing with children. Remember drivers may not be able to see a little one, so hold their hand while crossing.
• Use the same rules of caution in a parking lot. Parking lots can be just as dangerous as the street.
• Be a defensive walker. Watch where you are going and expect the unexpected.
Tips for the driver:
• Come to a full stop. The “California stop” is both unsafe and illegal. Be sure to stop completely at all signals and stop signs before entering a crosswalk or intersection.
• Do not pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk because there may be a pedestrian in the road hidden from your view. Pedestrians have the right of way at corners, whether or not the crosswalks are painted on the ground.
• Use caution near schools and where children play, and follow reduced speed zone signs in residential areas and around schools. Remember, young children don’t always remember safe crossing rules, so keep an eye out for them.
• Wait for the pedestrian to reach the other side before moving. You may save a life by alerting other drivers to the presence of a pedestrian who might otherwise have gone unnoticed until it was too late.
• Yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.
• You must always stop for any person using a guide dog or a white cane, with or without a red tip. It’s the law!
Visit the SMPD’s pedestrian safety web page: http://santamonicapd.org/Content.aspx?id=2541.
Q. I was cleaning out my garage and came across an old gun and some unused handgun ammunition. Can I turn it in to the police for safe disposal? Will the department use it for training?
A. The Santa Monica Police Department will gladly accept firearms and old or unused ammunition from Santa Monica residents for safe destruction.
If you want to turn in a firearm for destruction, call the police department and arrangements will be made to safely turn over the firearm. Never bring a firearm into the police station without the expressed approval and knowledge of the desk officer. When you turn in a firearm you will be given a receipt. You will also need to specifically say you want the weapon destroyed.
If you want to turn in ammunition, it can only be standard handgun, shotgun or rifle rounds. If you have something you believe is ammunition but are not completely sure, leave it alone and call the police department before handling it. If you know you have standard ammunition bring it to the Santa Monica Police Department front desk. If you find something that appears to be a grenade, artillery shell, or any military ordinance, leave it alone and immediately call the police department. Never throw live ammunition away in the trash.
During training, officers use special environmentally sound — low-lead — fully-jacketed ammunition. Because the age and composition of most ammunition that is turned in to the department can not be determined, it is never used by the department. Firearms are usually destroyed in accordance with the wishes of the owner. Under very rare circumstances the department may keep a firearm for ceremonial or training purposes.
This column was prepared by Neighborhood Resource Officer Adam Gwartz (Beat 5: Montana Avenue to north city limits, Ocean Avenue to 26th Street.) He can be reached at (424) 200-0685 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.