Atherton: Extra patrols focus on pedestrian hazards


Extra police patrols will be in Atherton on Wednesday, March 4, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Their focus: driving behavior that endangers pedestrians, and pedestrian behavior that interferes with drivers' right-of-way, according to Cpl. Brett Murphy of the Burlingame Police Department.

The patrols, which will also be conducted in Burlingame today, are part of a county enforcement program that receives funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through a grant to the California Office of Traffic Safety.

Officers will concentrate at known danger zones -- places where collisions between vehicles and pedestrians have occurred.

They'll be looking in particular for drivers who speed, who make illegal turns, who ignore stop signs and traffic signals, and who do not yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, Cpl. Murphy said.

Atherton police have had to deal with two fatal collisions involving pedestrians in the past two years. In 2012 around the state, 612 pedestrians died in traffic accidents, Cpl. Murphy said.

Studies show that both pedestrians and drivers are inconsistent in the ways they follow traffic laws. Whether driving or walking, people text, talk on cellphones and listen to music, he said.

If officers see pedestrians crossing a street illegally (jaywalking) or failing to yield to drivers who have the right-of-way, they will be ticketed, Cpl. Murphy said. "Pedestrians should cross the street only in marked crosswalks or at corners," he said.

A national study revealed that 40 percent of pedestrians did not know that they have the right-of-way in a crosswalk and did not expect drivers to stop when a crosswalk is in use by a pedestrian.

Drivers should take extra care to look out for pedestrians, especially in hard-to-see conditions; slow down when approaching an area where pedestrians are likely to be; stop at the crosswalk line so other drivers get the hint that the crosswalk is in use; and be cautious when backing up.

Pedestrians should be predictable; walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible; pay attention to what is going on around you; make eye contact with drivers; wear bright clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night, or carry a light; and look both ways before crossing a street.

— Dave Boyce

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5 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 4, 2015 at 12:36 pm

Pedestrians please look into the street before crossing. Don't just press the walk button and start walking or just step into the crosswalk and hope the car sees you. I fully understand pedestrians have the right of way, but need to use common sense.

7 people like this
Posted by dana hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 1:02 pm

I am a cyclist and when driving I have almost hit other cyclists who suddenly appear at an intersection and without any hesitation ignore a stop sign and ride across my path in a pedestrian crosswalk. This has happened in the daytime and after dark. And sometimes these rider do not even look to see if there is cross traffic. This behavior is rude and dangerous. Please stop it! I do not want to hurt you.

3 people like this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 4, 2015 at 1:58 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

Cars, bikes and pedestrians need to pay attention t0 what they are doing at all times. I too have had to suddenly stop because a pedestrian steps off the curb in front of me. LOOK before stepping off the curb.

3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 4, 2015 at 2:18 pm

Turn your cell phone off when driving. Hands free cell phones are still distracting. Distracted driving is replacing drunk driving as a leading cause of pedestrian fatalities.

1 person likes this
Posted by Passing By
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 8:00 pm

I happened to be driving through Atherton along El Camino Real today at about 1:00 when the traffic suddenly slowed down bumper-to-bumper near the intersection with 5th. I feared there had been another accident but when I got closer I could see five officers -- three on motorcycle and two in sedans -- had pulled five drivers off the road onto the shoulder. I assume for speeding. I'm glad they're patrolling but some common sense might be nice. Wouldn't it be more effective and safer to stop speeders one at a time instead of Operation Massive Roadblock?

4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 4, 2015 at 8:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Wouldn't it be more effective and safer to stop speeders one at a time instead of Operation Massive Roadblock?"

Clearly you and others got the message - Slow down.

1 person likes this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 5, 2015 at 6:44 am

SteveC is a registered user.

@Resident. Good point and this includes Bicyclists.

@Passing by: You got the point!! SLOW down.

1 person likes this
Posted by Srini
a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2015 at 12:18 pm

Resident--That goes for pedestrians, who seem oblivious to the world as they meander into the path of everything as they gaze into their phones.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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