Deputies cite 34 in pedestrian-safety operation

A "Ghost Bike" sits on the side of Railroad Avenue near where a cyclist was killed Sunday night as a reminder to motorists to share the road. Cory Rubin/The Signal
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Close to three dozen motorists were issued citations this week during a crackdown by local sheriff’s deputies on pedestrian and cyclist safety.

Out of 34 motorists cited, seven of those involved allegations the motorist failed to yield to a pedestrian, Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, said Tuesday.

“The deputies also reported two near misses,” she said, referring to two instances in which a motorist narrowly missed hitting a pedestrian.

The operation aimed at improving the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians was carried out in response to a recent rash in traffic collisions in which cyclists and pedestrians were hit.

The recent rash of traffic collisions received the attention of civic leaders.  

Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin addressed the issue in a column published Sunday: “Be a ‘Heads Up’ pedestrian.” The Heads Up program, which the city began in partnership with the Sheriff’s Station in 2017, calls on pedestrians to stay alert when they’re on the street.

“Road safety is a responsibility that all who use our city streets share,” Striplin said Wednesday.


“With the multitude of distractions drivers and pedestrians face thanks to technology — it is more important than ever to be focused to protect yourself and others,” Striplin said. “If I could send one message to the community, it would be: Put the phone down whenever you are driving or crossing the street. No text or phone call is as important as someone’s life.”

Striplin urged people to read about the Heads Up program by visiting for more traffic-safety tips.

The award-winning program is now entering its third consecutive year.

On Monday, between 5 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the city of Santa Clarita, deputies looked  for violations made by bicyclists, drivers and pedestrians that put roadway users at risk.

The violations they watched for included: 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 also looked for pedestrians who cross the street illegally or fail to yield to drivers who have the right of way.

In the end, however, no citations were handed out to either a pedestrian or a cyclist, Miller said Tuesday.

The crackdown was launched in response to a spike in the number of recent traffic collisions involving pedestrians and cyclists.

Two fatalities

Statistics gathered for the Heads Up campaign revealed that seven pedestrians were killed on SCV streets between 2013 and 2015.

The numbers showed an increase over the three-year period with two pedestrians killed in 2013, one in 2014, and four in 2015.

The city launched the Heads Up campaign in 2017, according to Carrie Lujan, city spokeswoman, who also said there were no similar incidents involving pedestrian fatalities in 2017 or 2018 in city limits.

A look at the recent spike in pedestrian/cyclist collisions reveals that pedestrians were involved in at least four collisions over the span of one week, including two who died as a result of their injuries.

The two fatalities happened in the space of 48 hours, claiming the lives of a 61-year-old male pedestrian and a 62-year-old female cyclist.

2017 operation

Deputies carried out a similar pedestrian safety enforcement operation in September 2017.

They issued out 48 citations for a number of violations, including: unsafe speed, excessively loud music, two for red light violations and more than a dozen citations for drivers failing to yield to a pedestrian.

The lion’s share of alleged offenses in 2017, which netted 31 people who were handed a citation — cell phone violations.

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