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December 4th, 2009 by Terry Miller
The scene on Las Tunas last week it bit like something out of a movie. Lots of motorcycle cops ready to pounce at any given moment with lights flashing and sirens blaring away.
The authorities were on a mission to save lives and ticket drivers who do not stop for pedestrians in crosswalks or any intersection where they can cross.
On Wednesday morning, a Traffic Law Enforcement Task Force conducted a pedestrian decoy operation at the intersection of Las Tunas Drive and Agnes Avenue. Nearly 200 citations were issued include one to a MTA bus driver who allegedly failed to stop for a pedestrian.
Not everyone was happy with the officers and the decoy operation. Some claimed entrapment, other simply didn’t know that they had to stop.
The confusion lies is what constitutes a crosswalk:
Here’s the California Code according to the DMV: A crosswalk is that part of the roadway where the sidewalk lines would extend across the street and it is set aside for pedestrian traffic. Every intersection has a pedestrian crosswalk whether or not there are painted lines on the street. Most crosswalks are at corners but they can also be in the middle of the block. Before turning a corner, watch for people about to cross the street. Pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks, even if the crosswalk is in the middle of the block.
Crosswalks are often marked with white lines. Yellow crosswalk lines may be painted at school crossings. Most often, crosswalks in residential areas are not marked.
Some crosswalks have flashing lights to warn you that pedestrians may be crossing. Look for pedestrians and be prepared to stop, whether or not the lights are flashing.
The task force consisted of motorcycle units from the Sheriff’s Department, Alhambra PD, El Monte PD, Monterey Park PD, San Gabriel PD, San Marino PD and South Pasadena PD. Plain-clothes deputies were walking back and forth across Las Tunas Drive while the task force monitored approaching vehicles. Vehicles that failed to yield to the pedestrians were issued citations.
The DMV goes on to say: Pedestrian safety is a serious issue. One in six traffic fatalities is a pedestrian. Drive cautiously when pedestrians are near because they may cross your path.
A pedestrian is a person on foot or who uses a conveyance such as roller skates, skateboards, etc., other than a bicycle. A pedestrian can also be a person with a disability on a tricycle or quadricycle or in a wheelchair.
* Respect the right-of-way of pedestrians. Always stop for any pedestrian crossing at corners or other crosswalks, even if the crosswalk is in the middle of the block, and at corners with or without traffic lights, whether or not the crosswalks are marked by painted lines.
* Do not pass a car from behind that has stopped at a crosswalk. A pedestrian you can’t see may be crossing.
* Do not drive on a sidewalk, except to cross it at a driveway or alley. When crossing, yield to any pedestrian.
* Do not stop in a crosswalk. You will place pedestrians in danger.
* Remember—if a pedestrian makes eye contact with you, he or she is ready to cross the street. Yield to the pedestrian.
* Allow older pedestrians more time to cross the street.
* Important: Blind pedestrians rely on the sound of your vehicle to remain aware of their surroundings, so it is important that you stop your vehicle within 5 feet of the crosswalk. Drivers of hybrid or electric vehicles need to remain especially aware of this, as the lack of engine noise may lead a blind pedestrian to assume that there is not a car nearby. Follow cues: When a blind person pulls in his/her cane and steps away from the intersection, this gesture usually means for you to go.
The operation lasted approximately three hours, and 182 citations were issued.