Captain’s View

Safety first

One of the challenges we constantly face here in the Northern District is traversing our streets safely. Whether traveling by foot, on bicycles, or in vehicles, we are sometimes confronted with traversing our streets without being involved in a collision. Many of you may have seen back in December 2012 the public awareness campaign by Mayor Lee addressing just this issue. The mayor asked citizens to be more aware of how you walk the streets, ride your bicycles, and drive your vehicles to reduce the number of collisions on our streets. It is a safety campaign I fully endorse.

As part of the traffic safety campaign and traffic safety awareness, each police station was provided with locations in their district with the highest incidents of collisions. The collisions were a result of various violations up to and including stop sign violations, red light violations, pedestrian and pedestrian right-of-way violations, inattention, and speeding violations. In addition to the main causes of the collisions, it was shown that those responsible for the collisions were not just vehicle operators but were pedestrians and bicyclists as well. To address these problem intersections and problem violators, each police district will have a Focus on Five campaign addressing five of the most problematic intersections. Each district will have education and enforcement operations each month at the problematic intersections to reduce the number of collisions by educating the public on the problem and enforcing traffic laws where appropriate.

Northern Station chose five areas of focus for the month of January. Two of the locations were in the Marina District: at Green and Gough Streets for stop sign violations, and Divisadero and Lombard Streets for speeding and pedestrian right-of-way violations. As part of the Focus on Five campaign, these two locations had directed enforcement and education operations in which we issued some citations but did more educational outreach than enforcement. During the month of March, we conducted additional enforcement and education campaigns in the Marina District, including stop sign and pedestrian violations on Chestnut Street and Marina Boulevard.

Our goal was not to see how many citations we can issue or how many people we have to admonish and educate on the laws. It is, as stated above, to reduce the collisions in our district. If by telling you where we will focus additional attention makes you more aware, causes more compliance with the laws, and reduces the collisions in our district, then our campaign will be a success.

I also seek your help in a few ways.

First, please be aware of your surroundings when walking the streets and adhering to pedestrian laws. As an operator of a bicycle or a vehicle, please be cognizant of the pedestrians, pedestrian rights-of-way, and the laws that govern operating a bicycle or a motor vehicle.

Second, please talk to your friends and neighbors about this issue and help us educate even more people on the traffic safety campaign.

And, finally, while Northern Station has a list of problematic intersections with the highest number of collisions, it might not include a problem intersection in your neighborhood. Should you have a problem intersection that you believe warrants a focus on our part, I want to hear about it. Feel free to notify me of these problem locations via our station e-mail [email protected] or my personal e-mail [email protected].

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