COMMENTARY: September is California Pedestrian Safety Month

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September is Pedestrian Safety Month, and the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) will be joining the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), along with other law-enforcement agencies, transportation agencies and pedestrian advocates, to promote public awareness aimed at pedestrian safety.

The LBPD supports efforts by OTS to educate drivers that “Pedestrians Don’t Have Armor.” This campaign highlights the importance of pedestrian-safety awareness, regardless of whether one is on foot or behind the wheel.

Both in California and nationally, the number of pedestrians killed or injured on roadways is rising at alarming rates. In 2016, 867 pedestrians were killed and more than 14,000 were injured in California alone, a nearly 33-percent increase from 2012. In 2016, the LBPD investigated 16 pedestrian fatal collisions and another 335 major injury collisions.

Traffic officers working this enforcement campaign and on routine patrol will be focusing on drivers, as well as pedestrians, who violate traffic laws such as the following:

• Excessive speed
• Making illegal turns
• Distracted driving
• Failing to stop for signs and signals
• Failing to yield to drivers or pedestrians.

Safety goes both ways. Drivers and pedestrians must work together to exhibit safe behaviors that protect themselves and those around them, reducing injuries and saving lives.
The LBPD reminds pedestrians of the following safety tips:

• Use crosswalks or intersections with a stop sign or signals
• Make eye contact with drivers
• Look before stepping into a crosswalk

Drivers are also reminded of the following:

• Be alert of pedestrians
• Use caution when backing up
• Always wait for pedestrians to safely cross the street; be courteous and patient

Both drivers and pedestrians should avoid distractions by not using cell phones and being aware of their surroundings.

Funding for this enforcement campaign is provided to the LBPD by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.