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Lillian Boyd, Dana Point Times
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department plans to take part in a bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement operation aimed at educating bicyclists, drivers and pedestrians on traffic laws, rules and responsibilities.
On Friday, May 22, deputies will be looking for violations made by bicyclists, drivers and pedestrians that put roadway users at risk. These violations include drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, failing to stop for signs and signals or any other dangerous violation.
Deputies will also look for pedestrians who cross the street illegally or fail to yield to drivers who have the right of way. Bike riders will be stopped when riding on the wrong side of the road, not complying with stop signs and signals, or other violation of the same traffic laws that apply to them as drivers.
Bicycle and pedestrian fatalities are rising at an alarming rate, according to OCSD. In 2016, 138 bicyclists and 867 pedestrians were killed on California roads. Pedestrian fatalities are up nearly 33% from 2012, and the number of bicyclists killed is up nearly 25% over the past five years.
“People walking should only cross the street using crosswalks or intersections, preferably with a stop sign or signal,” said Carrie Braun, director of public affairs for OCSD. “People on foot should also look for cars backing up and avoid darting between parked cars, make eye contact with drivers and wear bright clothing during the day and reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.”
OCSD warns that drivers should wait for pedestrians to cross the street, avoid distractions such as using a cellphone, and be courteous and patient. All bike riders are reminded to always wear a helmet; helmets are required by law for those under 18. Bicyclists must travel in the same direction of traffic and have the same requirements as any slow-moving vehicle.
The Sheriff’s Department supports the new OTS public awareness campaign, “Go Safely, California.”
To find out more about ways to go safely, visit gosafelyca.org.