“On the enforcement side, motorists who ignore traffic safety laws in the District now face stiffer penalties. Drivers who do not stop and give the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks now face a $250 fine and three points on their driver’s license. If the driver strikes a pedestrian in the process of failing to stop, the penalty is $500 and 6 points.”
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Full press release after the jump.
District Joins Regional Partners to
Promote Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety
City Hosts Kickoff Event for Street Smart Campaign
(Washington, D.C.) The District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) acting Director Gabe Klein and Assistant Chief Patrick Burke of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) today called on District drivers, bikers and walkers to follow the city’s traffic laws and help make the roads safer for everyone. At the busy intersection of 14th and U Streets, NW, Director Klein and Assistant Chief Burke joined local elected officials and other law enforcement leaders to launch the 2009 Street Smart pedestrian safety campaign. The campaign aims to reduce the number of pedestrian injuries and deaths in the Washington metropolitan area through education and stepped up enforcement.
“In addition to making the public – walkers, bikers and drivers – more aware of each other,” said Assistant Chief Burke, “it is critical that violators understand there are significant consequences for not adhering to our traffic safety laws.”
To date, there have been four traffic fatalities in the District in 2009, and one of the victims was a pedestrian. In 2008, 15 pedestrians and 1 bicyclist were killed on the city’s streets, down from 25 pedestrians and 3 bicyclists the previous year. That decline is encouraging and indicates the Street Smart campaign and other efforts to improve pedestrian safety are having an impact.
“We are pushing the envelope on technology,” said Director Klein. “Last year we became the first city in the Northeast to install rapid flash beacons at a crosswalk on Brentwood Road. Since then we have seen yielding to pedestrians by drivers go from 26 percent to 80 percent.”
This year, DDOT will install a special pedestrian activated signal on Georgia Avenue, the first of its kind in DC, and more safety improvements are mapped out in the District’s Pedestrian Master Plan.
On the enforcement side, motorists who ignore traffic safety laws in the District now face stiffer penalties. Drivers who do not stop and give the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks now face a $250 fine and three points on their driver’s license. If the driver strikes a pedestrian in the process of failing to stop, the penalty is $500 and 6 points.
New to the Street Smart campaign this year is a heightened focus on cyclist safety and following their remarks, Director Klein and Assistant Chief Burke participated in a bike ride in the Midtown area to highlight the dangers and the responsibilities of cycling in the city.
“In the District we are really happy to see an emphasis on bicycling in this year’s campaign, with specific messages for everyone who used our streets,” said Director Klein. “Motorists: please yield to walkers and look out for bikes when turning. Cyclists: if you want respect on the road, please obey signs and signals, don’t ride against traffic, and use a light at night. And pedestrians: please use the crosswalks and wait for the walk signal.”