Chandler Police Boost Pedestrian/Cyclist Education/Enforcement - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler Police Boost Pedestrian/Cyclist Education/Enforcement

October 22nd, 2018 SanTan Sun News
Chandler Police Boost Pedestrian/Cyclist Education/Enforcement

By Colleen Sparks

Managing Editor

Citing the need for people walking, riding bicycles and driving vehicles to share the road safely, Chandler Police are boosting pedestrian education and enforcement.

The department’s Traffic Section & Bike Unit earlier this week held a pedestrian/bicyclist education and enforcement campaign.

Officers on motorcycles, fully marked patrol cars and unmarked traffic units stopped motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians who violated any pedestrian state traffic laws or any applicable city codes.

The special enforcement was held to support the U.S. Department of Transportation’s NHTSA Statewide Pedestrian & Bicyclist Focus Education and Enforcement Effort. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety gave the city money for the campaign.

The campaign aims to increase pedestrian and bicycle safety, and consequently decrease the number of collisions involving these groups of people with motor vehicles. Officers combined education and enforcement attempts, with violators of traffic law possibly getting citations.

“The main thing for us is unfortunately we have responded to accidents with life-threatening injuries,” Chandler Police spokesman Sgt. Daniel Mejia said. “We have to share the road with pedestrians, have to share the road with bicyclists.

“We all have to know the rules and regulations to keep everybody safe. Pedestrians have the rights on the road and particularly in crosswalks, that’s where most of fatalities occur. We have to bring that educational portion out, as well, educating those drivers, educating pedestrians.”

Last month, a pedestrian was killed after getting hit while walking south on Arrowhead Drive at the intersection of Ray Road.

The pedestrian was walking in a crosswalk and pronounced dead at a hospital, Mejia said. The vehicle had the green light and the final outcome of the investigation has not yet been determined, he said.

So far this year, there have been three pedestrian deaths in Chandler and one fatality involving a vehicle and bicycle, Mejia said.

During a previous Chandler Police pedestrian/bicyclist education and enforcement campaign, on June 4, police made 58 total traffic stops, made contact with 148 pedestrians and gave out 49 traffic citations and nine warnings. With cyclists, they delivered two citations and gave 22 warnings, he said. Statistics were not available from the Oct. 15 enforcement at press time.

Across Arizona, 197 pedestrians were killed in collisions on roads in the state in 2016, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. During that same year, 31 bicyclists died due to injuries suffered in motor vehicle collisions.

Those numbers are increases of 50 percent and 72 percent, respectively, over 2012 totals.

“We’ve been very successful contacting some people and educating them,” Mejia said. “It’s been a really good awareness for our agency and for our community as well.”

Mejia said drivers need to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists when they are crossing in a crosswalk.

Pedestrians need to wait until the signal says “Walk” if they are in a signalized crosswalk, and if they are not in a crosswalk that has that signal, they should wait until the traffic light requires drivers coming from either direction to stop.

Mejia said it is a good idea for pedestrians to make “eye contact” with drivers as they walk across the crosswalk to ensure the driver realizes they are crossing. He also urged pedestrians not to wear headphones or look at their phone screens when they walk across a crosswalk, as they will not be alert to their surroundings.

“You can’t hear stuff,” Mejia said. “Are you going to hear a screeching tire of someone who did not see you? That is very important.”

He said it is also dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross the street mid-block, not at a crosswalk.

“A lot of the drivers don’t expect somebody to cross mid-block and dart in front of them,” Mejia said.

He said most drivers when turning right over a crosswalk do not take the time to “look over their right shoulder to make sure a pedestrian is not crossing.”

“We just ask that everybody takes a minute to learn about these laws about sharing the road and how important it is to be safe, especially around intersections, where most of these incidents occur,” Mejia said.