By Mary O’KEEFE
On Monday, the Glendale Police Dept. conducted a bike and pedestrian safety enforcement operation.
This was part of a federal grant awarded to the GPD that covers 10 operations from Oct. 1, 2014 to Oct. 1, 2015. The focus of the enforcement is on collision causing factors involving motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.
“We go out [to where] we are having our collisions and write those violations not only for pedestrians but vehicle [violations] like not yielding [for pedestrians],” said Sgt. Bouzikian.
The patrol officers were looking for pedestrians that crossed outside crosswalks or against signal lights, and vehicles not yielding for pedestrians and bicyclists. They were also citing bicyclists who violated traffic laws.
“On Monday, we had 19 violations for vehicles not yielding to pedestrians, and 19 pedestrians for unlawful crossing,” Bouzikian said. “And we gave [out] nine [citations] for bicyclists including three that were wearing headphones in both ears.”
Bouzikian added that cyclists must follow the same laws as drivers with regard to headphones or ear buds. They cannot wear them in both ears.
“They need to be able to hear a siren [from an emergency response vehicle] or hear a car coming to a screech behind them,” he said.
It is common that drivers are often cited for violating crosswalk and signal laws but, Bouzikian said, the program also concentrates on pedestrians illegally crossing.
However, pedestrians need to be aware that even when they are in the right they are still going to get hurt if a vehicle hits them.
“Yesterday at San Fernando Road and Palmer Avenue there was a pedestrian who was [struck],” Bouzikian said. “He was legally in the crosswalk … and two weeks ago someone at Colorado Boulevard and Orange Street [was struck]. She entered the crosswalk on a ‘Don’t Walk’ signal.”
A truck saw her and stopped but a vehicle didn’t and struck her.
“We want pedestrians to be vigilant,” he said.
Pedestrian vs. car accidents are an issue in Glendale. Although the grant is for 10 operations a year, GPD sends out their officers more often, Bouzikian said.
They are not only being proactive by citing drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists, but also by educating the public.
In January 2015 there were 12 pedestrian vs. vehicle accidents within the city of Glendale, and 10 accidents last month.
The Montrose and far north Glendale areas have not experienced the same rate of pedestrian involved vehicle accidents that other areas of the city have seen, Bouzikian said.
“However we have collisions everywhere. … Just because we are not having any problems in [Montrose/far north Glendale] now doesn’t mean it won’t happen,” he said.
He wanted to remind drivers to be aware of pedestrians but also cyclists and pedestrians need to be alert as well and not assume just because they have the right of way they do not have to be aware of their surroundings.