SANTA MARIA The Santa Maria Police Department will step up bike and pedestrian safety enforcement operations today, with focus on collision-causing factors involving motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.
The department has mapped out locations over the past three years where pedestrians and bike collisions have occurred, along with the violations that led to those crashes. Extra officers will be on duty patrolling areas where bike and pedestrian crashes occur in an effort to lower deaths and injuries. Funding for the operations is part of a $260,000 grant provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety, according to a news release.
Officers will be on the lookout for violations made by drivers, bike riders and pedestrians 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 crosswalks, or any other dangerous violations, police said.
Enforcement will also be taken for observed violations when pedestrians cross the street illegally or fail to yield to drivers who have the right of water. Bicyclists will be stopped and cited if they fail to follow the same traffic laws that apply to motorists. All riders are reminded to wear a helmet, and those under 18 are required to wear one by law. Pedestrians are reminded to only cross the street in marked crosswalks or at corners.
The Santa Maria Police Department has investigated over 228 injury collisions involving pedestrians and bicyclists over the past three years, four of which have resulted in fatalities.