Police step up traffic enforcement for bicyclists, pedestrians

DOWNEY -- The Downey Police Department will step up bicycle and pedestrian traffic enforcement at various times during the month of August, focusing on collision-causing factors involving drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists. 

The department has mapped out locations over the past three years where pedestrian and bike collisions have occurred, along with the violations that led to those crashes.  

Extra officers will be on duty patrolling areas where bike and pedestrian traffic and crashes occur in an effort to lower deaths and injuries.  

Officers will be looking for violations made by drivers, bike riders and pedestrians alike that can lead to life-changing injuries.  Special attention will be directed toward drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to stop for signs and signals, failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks or any other dangerous violation.

Additionally, officers will be looking for pedestrians crossing the street illegally or failing to yield to drivers who have the right of way. Bike riders will be issued citations when they fail to follow the same traffic laws that apply to motorists. 

“All riders are reminded to always wear a helmet – those under 18 years of age must wear helmets by law,” police said. “Pedestrians should cross the street only in marked crosswalks or at corners.”

Bicycle and pedestrian fatalities are rising in California as more people use non-motorized means of transportation. Locally, the Downey Police Department has investigated 276 fatal and injury collisions involving pedestrians and bicyclists during the past three years. 

In 2012, California witnessed 612 pedestrians and 124 bicyclists killed while nationally 4,743 pedestrians and 726 bicyclists were killed. 

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.