Be alert or risk a ticket
[This post has been updated]
Arlington County police issued 33 tickets and 50 warnings to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists at its highest-volume intersection, North Lynn Street and Wilson Boulevard, on Tuesday morning -- and more will be coming.
Police throughout the Washington region are stepping up enforcement in order to reduce pedestrian and cyclist fatalities on roadways as part of the annual Street Smart campaign.
Last year, there were 79 pedestrian and cyclist fatalities across the D.C. metropolitan area, officials said.
"I think the bottom-line message is to pay attention. That goes for everybody," said Douglas Scott, Arlington County police chief.
There were 103 pedestrian-related accidents that resulted in four fatalities in Arlington in 2009. So far this year, there have been 73 accidents with one fatality.
Scott said he will have additional officers stationed at selected high-volume locations, in addition to regular patrols, over the next few weeks to increase awareness.
About 17 pedestrians and cyclists are killed in the District each year, said D.C. police Cmdr. Hilton Burton. This summer, the District increased fines and penalties for not yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks to $250 and 3 points. If a driver hits a pedestrian, that fine jumps to $500 and 6 points.
Officials reminded pedestrians and cyclists to wear reflective clothing at night to be visible to drivers, to always use crosswalks and obey signals. Drivers were warned to be aware and to yield to pedestrians and cyclists and to slow down.
"Speed matters highly," said Mary Hynes, an Arlington County Board member.
A pedestrian struck by a car going 25 mph has a 5 percent chance of dying. That number increases to 40 percent if the vehicle is traveling at 30 mph, she said.
"This is your warning. We are out there and we are writing tickets," said Thomas Didone, captain of the Montgomery County Police Department.
Street Smart, now in its eighth year, is sponsored by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
| November 9, 2010; 2:51 PM ET
Categories: Biking, Congestion, District, Driving, Maryland, Montgomery County, Northern Virginia, Prince George's County, Traffic Safety
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