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Be aware, take care

May 6, 2016
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Drivers, walkers, joggers and bicyclists take note: The Cape Coral Police Department has moved from the "education phase" of its current Bike-Ped Operations campaign to active enforcement of the rules of the road - and the sidewalk, and the bike path.

The CCPD has announced that officers will specifically target areas of the city this month where there are lots of pedestrians and bike traffic.

In place of the pamphlets and other materials officers have been handing out to stress helmet requirements and other safety tips, the department will now issue warnings and tickets to those who violate the law.

It's a matter of public safety, CCPD officials say.

"The main objective of this effort is to reduce traffic crashes and fatalities involving pedestrians and bicyclists through the use of selective traffic enforcement operations," a release from the agency concerning its enforcement phase states.

This is not the first time the CCPD has put an emphasis on sharing-the-road safety compliance.

For example, during a "high visibility enforcement action" that began in March and wrapped up in May last year, officers in cars and on bikes issued warnings and citations to motorists, bikers and pedestrians alike. Drivers were issued 239 written warnings and 23 tickets, pedestrians were handed 118 written warnings and those on bikes failing to follow the law were given 325 written warnings.

We expect the department will be at least as proactive this year.

"During the month of May, Officers will be actively looking to enforce the rules of the road as they relate to pedestrian and bicycle traffic," the CCPD release states. "They will be looking to enforce the bicycle helmet laws in order to keep those cycling in the city safe."

To that end, the department has offered the following rules-at-a-glance for those who may need one last educational warning.

For pedestrians and cyclists:

* Pedestrians should always walk on the sidewalk and if no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.

* Pedestrians and bicyclists should not wear headphones or talk on their cell phones.

* Pedestrians and bicyclists should cross streets at marked crosswalks or intersections when possible and obey traffic signals such as Walk/Don't Walk signs.

* Bicyclists should have their bicycle equipped with a white light on the front visible from a distance of 500 feet and a red light visible from a distance of 600 feet, between sunset and sunrise during operation.

* Bicyclists operating on the roadway are subject to obeying all traffic control devices to include stop signs and lighted traffic signals.

* Bicyclists operating upon a sidewalk or crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian.

For drivers:

* Speeding (5 mph can make the difference between types of injuries)

* Failure to stop for red lights or stop signs

* Failure to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists

* Distracted driving

* Blocking crosswalks

* Turning on green but not looking for pedestrian properly crossing in crosswalk - right and left turn crashes with pedestrians.

If you fail to follow the rules of the road, don't say you weren't warned. Be aware, take care, especially when sharing the roadway.

- Breeze editorial



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