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Santa Monica Police Roll Out Bike Safety Patrols

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By Lookout Staff

January 9, 2015 -- Santa Monica police will roll out extra bicycle-safety patrols Saturday in an ongoing campaign to curb collisions involving cyclists, pedestrians and motorists, police said.

Over the last five years, police have mapped out locations where vehicle accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists are most prevalent, along with violations that have led to those collisions, according to a statement from the department.

Extra officers will be on duty patrolling those areas “in an effort to lower deaths and injuries,” the statement said.

Special attention will be paid to drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to stop for signs and signals, failing to yield to pedestrians in cross walks and similar violations.

But police will also focus on pedestrians who cross the street illegally or fail to yield to drivers who have the right of way.  Bike riders will be ticketed when they fail to follow the same traffic laws that apply to motorists.

The statement also stressed the necessity of helmets for cyclists, a legal requirement for those under the age of 18. Pedestrians also should cross the street only in marked crosswalks or at corners.

Santa Monica police have investigated 874 fatal and injury collisions involving pedestrians and bicyclists during the past three years. In 2012, there were 612 pedestrians and 124 bicyclists killed in California; nationally, 4743 pedestrians and 726 bicyclists were killed.

The Governors Highway Safety Association and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2012 that California leads the nation in bicycle and pedestrian deaths.

In fact, a recent Los Angeles Times analysis showed hit-and-runs between cars and bicycles have jumped sharply in the region’s crowded roadways.

Santa Monica was one of a handful of cities and neighborhoods where such accidents were concentrated.

The analysis showed a 42 percent surge between 2002 and 2012 in such run-ins in Los Angeles County. During the same period, more than 5,600 cyclists were injured and at least 36 died in hit-and-run accidents, the Times found.

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