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SBPD Hopes to Make Roads Safer for Bicyclists and Pedestrians

By Renee Nordstrand on August 10, 2019

The Santa Barbara Police Department chose June 10, 2019, as a good day to tackle road safety. They conducted a bicycle-and-pedestrian-safety enforcement operation, which was on the look-out for drivers, cyclists, and walkers who were violating traffic laws. The SBPD received a grant to fund this program in part from the California Office of Traffic Safety.

NordstrandBlack PC applauds this operation, and hopes it takes root in the community. After 30 years of practicing personal injury law in Southern California, we know that one person’s poor choice can start a chain reaction that ends in tragedy.

In fact, the reason for the police department’s recent enforcement is the alarming rise in pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities in our state. In 2016, California lost 138 bicyclists and 867 pedestrians. In 2018, Santa Barbara alone reported 159 fatal or injury collisions involving bicyclists, pedestrians, and motor vehicles.

So, on a Wednesday two months ago, Santa Barbara police offers were stopping people for:

  • For vehicles, violations included speeding, making an illegal turn, failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, and failing to stop for red lights or stop signs. No “California rolling stops” were allowed! Officers also kept an eye out for distracted drivers, no doubt; distracted driving is on the rise in the United States and a much greater risk on winding mountain roads in Santa Barbara County.
  • For bicycles, violations included riding on the wrong side of the road, failing to use an existing bike lane, failing to come to a complete stop at a red light or stop sign, and breaking other traffic laws that also apply to drivers.
  • For pedestrians, violations included jaywalking, failing to obey “walk” and “don’t walk” signs while using a crosswalk, and failing to yield to drivers who had the right-of-way.

In addition, a press release for the SBPD offered positive tips to encourage safety:

  • For pedestrians, only cross the street at a crosswalk or intersection with a signal, watch out for cars backing up, avoid moving quickly between parked cars, make eye contact with drivers before you step into the road, wear bright-colored or reflective clothing, and use a flashlight at night.
  • For bicyclists, wear a helmet (which is required by law for riders under 18), always go with the flow of traffic, stay to the right side of the road and allow faster traffic to pass, and use hand signals when turning or stopping.
  • For drivers, pay attention! Wait for pedestrians to cross the street, allow bicyclists three feet of leeway when passing them (it’s the law), and never use a cell phone while driving.

The bottom line? A little courtesy goes a long way. Be polite and patient, and be aware of your surroundings at all times. The SBPD encourages readers to visit gosafelyca.org and commit to putting these practices into place when they hit the pavement.

Everyone—car drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians—needs to adhere to the rules of the road. Without them, we’d be crashing all the time and squabbling over whose turn it is to pass through an intersection. These traffic rules are in place for a reason, and the person who violates them is more often than not the one found liable after a collision.

If you were injured as a pedestrian or bicyclist, it will benefit you to contact a Santa Barbara pedestrian injury attorney right away. NordstrandBlack PC will consult with you for free, and if we take your case, you owe us no money upfront. We take our payment after we’ve received a settlement from the insurance company, or filed and won a lawsuit on your behalf. Call 805) 962-2022 today.

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