The Santa Monica Police Department will step up bike and pedestrian safety enforcement operationsJan. 10 and Jan. 17, with focused enforcement on primary collision factors involving motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.

The department has mapped out locations over the past five years where pedestrian and bike collisions are prevalent, along with the violations that led to those collisions. Extra officers will be on duty patrolling areas where bike and pedestrian traffic and collisions occur in an effort to lower deaths and injuries.

Officers will be looking for violations engaged by drivers, bike riders 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 and similar dangerous violations.

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

All riders are reminded to always wear a helmet; those under 18 years of age must wear helmets by law. Pedestrians should cross the street only in marked crosswalks or at corners.

Locally, the Santa Monica Police Department has investigated 874 fatal and injury collisions involving pedestrians and bicyclists during the past three years. In 2012, California witnessed 612 pedestrian and 124 bicyclists killed that year while nationally; 4,743 pedestrians and 726 bicyclists were killed. The Governors Highway Safety Association’s and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 2012 Data reports reveal that California leads the nation in bicycle and pedestrian deaths.

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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