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Police: pedestrian safety campaign successful so far

After Columbia Police responded to more than 50 pedestrian accidents over the last year, they decided to increase pedestrian safety with an enforcement campaign beginning in April. And they said since it started nearly a month ago, it’s been successful.

Officer Scott Decker is on the traffic unit and has been on high alert over the last month for any pedestrian or driver violation that could cause a pedestrian accident.

“The campaign has increased awareness and reminded people about the laws, so I think the education has been good,” Decker said.

ABC 17 News rode along with Decker on patrol today to see what police have been seeing over the last month. Decker said he was surprised how many violations they’ve caught.

“We’ve given out 45 warnings and around 12 citations,” he said.

Officers focused much of the campaign in the intersection of Broadway and Waugh Street because that is a popular place for college students to cross.

“Many people don’t stop at the flashing yellow lights, and that can cause a real problem,” he said. “I’ve seen a few close calls here.”

He said Providence Road near Douglass Park and College Avenue were also dangerous spots for pedestrians, but most of the problems police found there were pedestrians not crossing in the crosswalk or obeying the traffic signals.

“We saw a myriad of violations, from runners not paying attention when crossing the street to drivers not stopping behind the crosswalk or yielding during the lights,” Decker explained.

Decker said they’ll continue to crack down on violations to keep pedestrians safe.

“Pedestrian safety is everyone’s responsibility. The person crossing the street and the driver- they all have to pay attention,” he explained.

CPD will also be conducting a bicycle safety campaign this week. Officers will be stopping bikes for violations and giving warnings or citations.

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