Traffic officers fanned across the city Friday morning focusing on drivers, bike riders and pedestrians committing infractions that can lead to serious injuries or even fatalities.
Lt. Richard Tucker said his officers will continue to focus on the operations to fight a rise in pedestrian fatalities in the city. The department investigated 763 injury collisions and 52 fatalities involving pedestrians and bicyclists from 2014 through 2016. In 2016, the city recorded 25 pedestrian deaths.
Bringing the numbers down is a top goal of the department’s traffic unit, said Tucker.
“We’ll continue to hammer away at it.”
As to what portions of the city are the most frequent locations for pedestrian injuries and fatalities, the lieutenant’s answer was simple: all throughout the city. But he cited Blackstone and Shaw avenues as problem areas.
On police maps, “there are dots all over the city” where collisions have taken place, he added.
The issue isn’t simply one of walkers being more careful, or drivers being more cognizant of other forms of transportation, he said. It’s both. Drivers need to be alert for pedestrians, even if the walker isn’t in a crosswalk, and walkers need to remember that just because they are in the right doesn’t mean they are protected by an invisible barrier.
Of particular concern for officer are pedestrians in the roadway at night. Such an incident took the life a a man in the South Valley Thursday night, when a hit-and-run driver killed a Cutler man crossing Highway 63.