Pedestrians, cyclists shoulder ticket burden in D.C.

Paul D. Shinkman,

WASHINGTON – D.C. drivers squaring off against an increasing number of traffic cameras aren’t the only ones getting tickets, says the city’s top police officer.

D.C. police issued 500 tickets to pedestrians, and 3,000 tickets to bicyclists in 2011, Chief Cathy Lanier told WTOP on Thursday’s “Ask the Chief.”

Citations include walking against a red light or hazard and leaving the curb in an unsafe manner.

“We try and balance the safety on the roadways to make sure everyone is doing their part,” Lanier says. “My pet peeve is people walking when they’re looking at their handheld device and walking right out into the street.”

The chief went on to say drivers should always yield to pedestrians. However, if a pedestrian is disobeying a crosswalk and gets hit by a car, the pedestrian could be cited for that.

The news comes as regional drivers adjust to 47 new speed cameras strategically placed throughout D.C. roadways. There are 50 total cameras in the city. These account for a 50 percent drop in traffic fatalities between 2001 and 2011, Lanier says, and a 60 percent drop in the last year.

There is no way to determine whether the amount of the fines contributes to that shift, she says.

Drivers will soon face roughly a dozen cameras at stop signs near schools to catch those rolling across the stop line.

Police will set these up in December, Lanier says, to be followed by a community awareness campaign and a 30-day grace period where tickets will be replaced with warnings.

A team of three, including one police officer, will review video of each infraction from these cameras to determine if the driver actually disobeyed the sign.

WTOP’s Mark Segraves contributed to this report. Follow Paul, Mark and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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