■ Hemet Police Department / Contributed
On Sept. 6, the Hemet Police Department conducted a pedestrian education and enforcement operation as part of their Pedestrian Safety Campaign; a program designed to raise public awareness about pedestrian safety.
The operation began at noon last Thursday on the west end of Florida Avenue, near Sanderson Avenue. Officers placed a digital sign board on the roadside alerting drivers that September is California Pedestrian Safety month, and warning pedestrians to use the nearby crosswalks.
Motorcycle officers stationed in the area ticketed pedestrians who crossed Florida Avenue between Sanderson Avenue and Kirby Street, a violation commonly referred to as “Jaywalking.”
Community Service Officers were placed on the corner of Sanderson Avenue and Florida Avenue, and on Kirby Street and Florida Avenue to observe pedestrians at those intersections. The Community Service Officers were there to reward pedestrians who used the crosswalk by handing them a coupon for a free “Slurpee” brand frozen drink. In total, 8 citations were issued by officers, and 44 Slurpee coupons were given out.
“It is great to see that more people used the crosswalk than crossed illegally,” said Lieutenant Eric Dickson, who oversees the department’s traffic team. “It seems more people are deciding to make the safer choice by using a crosswalk,” Dickson added.
According to statistics from the California Office of Traffic Safety, nearly 8,000 people died in pedestrian-related traffic incidents in California between 2006 and 2016. California’s pedestrian fatality rate is almost 30 percent higher than the national average and no state has more pedestrian deaths on its roadways than California.
The Hemet Police Department plans many more operations like todays, working toward a goal of education and enforcement designed to address pedestrian safety and reduce collisions in the City of Hemet.
The digital message board used in this operation was purchased with funds provided by The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) who awarded the City of Hemet a traffic safety grant in 2017.
The coupons for free “Slurpee” brand frozen drinks were donated by the 7-Eleven corporation.