Deputies to crack down on pedestrian, cyclist safety

A Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputy on patrol in Canyon Country. Courtesy photo the SCV Sheriff's Station.

In response to a spike in the number of recent traffic collisions involving pedestrians and cyclists, local sheriff’s deputies plan to carry out a safety crackdown Monday.

Between 5 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the city of Santa Clarita, deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station are expected to look for violations made by bicyclists, drivers and pedestrians that put roadway users at risk.

The violations they’ll be looking for inzclude: 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.

In announcing the crackdown this week, SCV Sheriff’s Station officials cited a number of statistics.

Bicycle and pedestrian fatalities, they said in a news release, are rising at an alarming rate. In 2016, 138 bicyclists and 867 pedestrians were killed on California roads.

Pedestrian fatalities are up nearly 33 percent from 2012, and the number of bicyclists killed are up nearly 25 percent over the past five years, they said.

In 2018, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigated 1,052 fatal and injury collisions involving bicyclists and pedestrians in the cities policed by the Sheriff’s Department.

Local statistics involving pedestrians and cyclists hurt and killed in traffic collisions have also drawn the attention of civic leaders.

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.

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.

“Whether you are on foot, behind the wheel or on a bike, you play a part in roadway safety,” Sgt. Robert Hill was quoted as saying in the news release.

“Understanding the rules of the road using all modes of transportation helps ensure we all get to our destination safely,” he said.

Those include:

  • People walking should only cross the street using crosswalks or intersections, preferably with a stop sign or signal.
  • 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.
  • Drivers should wait for pedestrians to cross the street, avoid distractions like using a cell phone, and be courteous and patient.
  • All bike riders are reminded to always wear a helmet; helmets are required by law for those under 18.
  • Bike riders should always go with the flow of traffic, let faster traffic pass and use hand signals when turning or stopping.

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