NOV. 10 UPDATE: In their first day of enforcement, police issued 122 tickets to motorists who failed to yield to pedestrians and 11 tickets for other traffic violations. These tickets were written in the Crossroads and Rivermarket areas and on Broadway between Linwood and Westport Road.
A spike of crashes involving pedestrians in 2009 is prompting Kansas City Police to carry out a Crosswalk Crackdown November 9 to 13.
Through Oct. 28, 2009, 10 pedestrians in Kansas City have been killed by vehicles, and another 165 have been injured. And in a few weeks – Nov. 19-21 – more than 20,000 additional pedestrians will be Downtown for the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC). At the 2007 NCYC convention in Columbus, Ohio, a 16-year-old pedestrian was struck and killed on her way back to her hotel.
“We want to do something to raise awareness for pedestrians and motorists,” said Captain Scott Glaeser, commander of the Traffic Enforcement Unit.
So Nov. 9 through 13, police will be cracking down on those who violate crosswalk laws with extra police officers around Downtown – many of them in plain clothes – looking for and ticketing violators. The Crosswalk Crackdown will involve traffic, Central Patrol and Tactical officers. They will target both walkers and drivers breaking the law.
“These ordinances have been enforced before, but we’re putting an increased emphasis on them now because of increased pedestrian accidents and all the new Downtown development,” Captain Glaeser said.
This upcoming Downtown Crosswalk Crackdown will be the first of several, and police will focus on other areas in the future.
Safety tips for pedestrians
• Be predictable. Stay off highways and restricted zones. Use sidewalks where available. Cross or enter streets where it is legal to do so.
• Where no sidewalks are provided, it’s usually safer to walk facing traffic.
• Make it easy for drivers to see you – dress in light colors and wear reflective material. At night and in dark areas, carrying a flashlight would be wise.
• Make eye contact with drivers to make sure they see you.
• Alcohol and drugs can impair your ability to walk safely.
• Use extra caution crossing multi-lane, higher-speed streets.
Safety tips for drivers
• Remember that you can encounter a pedestrian anywhere.
• Slow down if you can’t see clearly, like if the weather is bad or at night.
• When entering a crosswalk area, slow down and be prepared to stop.
• Stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk. Stop far enough back so drivers in the other lanes also can see the pedestrian in time to stop.
• Do not overtake or pass other vehicles stopping for pedestrians.
• Watch closely for pedestrians when you make a turn.
• Be especially attentive around schools and in neighborhoods where children are active.