Area police launch road safety campaign

ARLINGTON, Va. – Attention jaywalkers and drivers – the educational outreach phase of a street safety campaign soon will move into the ticketing and fining phase.

The region’s 2014 Street Smart Pedestrian, Driver, and Bicyclist Safety Campaign is now underway.

“This isn’t a revenue-generating thing. This is a safety thing for the pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles that are traveling at this hour,” says Arlington Police Lt. Kip Malcolm Thursday morning.

Malcolm says the recent time change is exposing rush hour commuters to darker and potentially more dangerous conditions than they’re accustomed to.

That’s why the Arlington Police Department’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Awareness Program passed out Street Smart informational flyers in the dark and rain Thursday morning along North Lynn Street in Rosslyn.

Being on one end or the other of a pedestrian-car collision can be unsettling even if no one is seriously hurt. “It was scary,” Jae Smith says while glancing at the traffic safety pamphlet she’d just been given by Arlington police.

“I actually hit her and she landed on my windshield,” Smith says describing a recent wreck near the intersection of 18th and I streets NW in the District.

“They didn’t charge me with anything. They just gave her a ticket because they say that she jaywalked. She just walked out into the street,” Smith adds.

The fines for tickets associated with street safety violations in Virginia can vary from $30 to $50 plus $61 in court costs. “It gets a little costly,” Malcolm says .

Malcolm says that cyclists are subject to the same road rules as cars.

“All bicycles are considered vehicles while they’re traveling on the roadway,” he says.

A man hit by a car on Georgia Avenue near Forest Glen Road before sunrise Thursday is a grim reminder of why commuters – whether on foot, bike or in a car – should pay attention to traffic safety. Montgomery County Police Lt. Charles Carafano says the pedestrian was taken to a hospital but is expected to be fine.

According to Arlington police, about 25 percent traffic fatalities in the Washington region are bicyclists and pedestrians.

Officers will issue tickets for traffic law violations or to motorists who don’t yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Pedestrians could be cited for jaywalking.

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