The San Francisco Police Department has finally figured out what's causing an increase in cyclist and pedestrian fatalities in SF and beyond: The increase in bike-riding and walking.
No, seriously, that's what they said in a press release sent to media yesterday, writing "Bicycle and pedestrian fatalities are rising in California as more people use these non-motorized means of transportation." They then cite a statistic from over three years ago, saying that in 2013 701 pedestrians and 141 bicyclists were killed in California roads, "accounting for more than 28 percent of all traffic fatalities."
That's why, police say, they've been targeting and ticketing pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers during the special enforcement periods of January 4th, 6th, 9th, 12th, 20th, 23rd and 31st.
According to the SFPD, "the department has mapped locations over the past 3 years where pedestrian and bike collisions have occurred along with the violations that led to those crashes." It's unclear from the release if those areas are the ones that "extra officers" will patrol, devoting "special attention...toward drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to stop for signs and signals, failing to yield to pedestrians in cross walks or any other dangerous violation."
But it's not enough to watch for drivers, as in news sure to warm the hearts of cyclists fond of the Idaho stop, police also say that "Bike riders will be stopped and citations issued when they fail to follow the same traffic laws that apply to motorists" on those enforcement days.
"All riders are reminded to always wear a helmet," the SFPD writes, though helmet use is not actually required by California law for those over the age of 18. (Look, I'm not saying you shouldn't wear a helmet, just want you to know your rights.)
SFPD is also targeting pedestrians in the operation, saying that they will "cite for violations when pedestrians cross the street illegally or fail to yield to drivers who have the right of way." Pedestrians are reminded that they "should cross the street only in marked crosswalks or at corners." (Unless marked otherwise, corners are actually considered crosswalks in the state of California, but who's counting?)
Despite this concern from police regarding jay walking, the three pedestrian collisions SFPD have divulged to media so far this year involved people walking in a crosswalk: A hit-and-run Monday at Bush and Laguna Streets, a man who was run over when he fell in a crosswalk last week, and a woman police confirm was "in the crosswalk" at Union and Buchanan streets Wednesday when she was struck and killed by the driver of a pick-up truck. In the two cases where drivers remained at the scene, police say that neither were arrested in the collisions. Information on if either were cited was unavailable as of publication time.