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[santa phone]Santa Maria police stress traffic safety

  The Santa Maria Police Department will conduct a bicycle and pedestrian safety operation from 7 to 11 a.m. Tuesday.

  The operation is designed to help people exercise and enjoy the outdoors safely.

  In a news release, the police department stressed the need to protect the public by looking for safety violations made by bicyclists, drivers and pedestrians.

  These violations include drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, and failing to stop for signs and signals. The violations also include traffic rules broken by bicyclists or pedestrians.

  “Drivers, slow down and allow bicyclists and pedestrians the same access to roads,” the police department said in the news release. “To protect you and your family, we want to make sure everyone is following rules that keep them safe.”

  Since the beginning of 2020, the Santa Maria Police Department has investigated three deadly crashes and approximately 66 injury collisions involving bicyclists and pedestrians.

  To keep everyone safe, the police department offers these tips.

  PEDESTRIANS

  — Only cross at marked crosswalks or intersections with a stop sign or signal.

  — Look for cars backing up. Avoid going between parked cars.

  — Make eye contact with drivers. Don’t assume they see you.

  — Wear bright clothing during the day and use a flashlight when walking at night.

  DRIVERS

  — Wait for pedestrians to cross the street. Be courteous and patient.

  — Stay off the phone.

  — Don’t speed. Speed limits aren’t suggestions, the police department noted.

  — Look for pedestrians when backing up, turning at intersections or entering/exiting shopping centers.

  BICYCLISTS

  — Always wear a helmet. Helmets are required by law for anyone under 18.

  — Bicyclists must travel in the same direction of traffic and have the same requirements as any slow moving vehicle.

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

  email: dmason@newspress.com