The Santa Maria Police Department is increasing its bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement due to extra funding on Tuesday.
A grant of $385,000 was provided to the department by the California Office of Traffic Safety to step up the operations.
Additional officers were placed in parts of the city where more bike and pedestrian collisions occur, as well as where drivers are most often cited for violating the laws.
The officers on patrol were looking for drivers who were making violations that could result in life-threatening injuries. These include speeding, making illegal turns, not stopping at traffic lights or signs and not yielding as pedestrians cross the street. The operation also included patrolling in pedestrian-heavy areas, looking for people who illegally crossed the street or did not wait for cars with the right-of-way to pass.
Bicyclists were stopped and cited if they did not properly follow the rules of the road like that of vehicles.
“You need to pay attention to what you’re doing drivers need to pay attention to the pedestrians, pedestrians need to pay attention to the vehicles on the road way and give each other space if you do that then we won’t have any type of collisions,” Sergeant Duane Schneider of the Santa Maria Police Department said.
The enforcement period was established to reduce the amount of collisions and injuries involving pedestrians and bicyclists.
In the past three years, the Santa Maria Police Department has investigated more than 228 injury collisions. Six of those resulted in fatalities.
The Governors Highway Safety Association’s and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data from 2015 reports California as the lead state for bicycle and pedestrian deaths.
This operation marks just one of five focusing on pedestrian and bicycle safety in the next year.