Skateboarders, bicyclists and joggers enjoy the bike path in Venice Beach. Photo by John Schreiber.
Skateboarders, bicyclists and joggers enjoy the bike path in Venice Beach. Photo by John Schreiber.

Santa Monica may be one of the most traffic-calmed cities in the United States, but there have been 874 injury or fatal crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists in Santa Monica in the past three years, and police plan a crackdown.

The city police have noticed an uptick in crashes, despite citywide efforts to slow traffic, build crosswalks, and install bike lanes and safety signage.

On Friday and then on three days in early June, police will be looking at several locations where pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers frequently smack into each other, said Lt. Richard Lewis at the Santa Monica Police Department.

Bikers, walkers and motorists are equal opportunity offenders in the bayside city, he said.

“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, and similar violations,” he said.

But pedestrians and bicyclists are also frequent offenders, he added. “Bike riders will be stopped and citations issued where they fail to follow the same traffic laws that apply to motorists,” Lewis warned.

Additionally, pedestrians who jaywalk or fail to yield to cars that have the right of way will be ticketed, the lieutenant warned.

The first of four operations, beginning Friday, will focus on enforcing violations. The other crackdowns will be in the following week: June 1, June 3, and June 5.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is funding the concentrated enforcement, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.

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