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Columbia police crack down on pedestrians breaking the law

Columbia police are cracking down on pedestrian violations as part of a new campaign.

According to Columbia police, there were about 20 pedestrians hit by vehicles last year and 15 hit by cyclists. And three of those crashes killed pedestrians in the last six months.

In January, police said the pedestrian who was killed on Providence Road did not use a crosswalk, and witnesses said she ran out into the street. Officer Scott Decker said that is one reason CPD has decided to step up enforcement for pedestrian violations and remind everyone to be careful.

This week, police are handing out warnings to pedestrians, drivers and cyclists. Some violations officers are watching out for include not using crosswalks or crosswalk signals, failing to yield to a pedestrian while driving, stopping your car in a crosswalk and riding a bike on sidewalks downtown.

“We started looking into it a little bit more and seeing what other cities did, and we decided to do another pedestrian safety campaign,” Decker said. “We’ve done pedestrian enforcement details before. But this time, we wanted to go a little bit further, trying to do a little bit more education on it.”

Then next week, officers will give out tickets for these violations with fines starting at $90. And if you are driving, you may get points on your license.

Columbia Parks and Recreation is also working to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Starting last fall, Parks and Rec gave police officers free bicycle lights to hand out to cyclists riding in the dark. So far, CPD has given out more than 100 of those lights.

“We feel that enforcement is needed to make sure that people are aware of their responsibilities.” Janet Goden with Columbia Parks and Recreation said.”And so the ultimate goal of this is to get more people walking and biking for healthy transportation.”

Officer Decker said the Traffic Enforcement Unit will be focusing on the downtown area for the next couple of weeks because it has the most pedestrian traffic. But he said if they catch you breaking these rules in other areas of the city, you still may get a ticket.

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