Columbia police crack down on pedestrian and cyclist violations

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department announced Wednesday its bringing awareness to pedestrian and cyclist safety this week by issuing warnings for common violations downtown.

"This week I plan on handing out warning flyers as a way to educate the public that pedestrian safety is everybody's responsibility," Officer Scott Decker said.

Common violations are failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, not obeying crosswalk signals, crossing the roadway in a prohibited crossing place, parking on crosswalks, and riding bicycles on sidewalks in the downtown district. 

Police have responded to two pedestrian crash fatalities so far this year. Missouri State Highway Patrol recorded 21 pedestrian incidents in 2014, two of those fatal. It also recorded 16 pedacycle crashes.

Columbia police are also working with city programs to ramp up pedestrian and cyclist education and safety. For example, GetAbout Columbia Outreach Coordinator Janet Godon wants to add more signage downtown, reminding citizens about safety ordinances. 

"We have stenciled the downtown district sidewalks with a stencil that says, 'Walk Your Bike,'" Godon said. "It's just a way to provide awareness of that city ordinance that does indeed state that you have to walk your bikes on city sidewalks."

She also said citizens should take advantage of resources the Columbia Police Department provides. Police handed out about one-hundred free bike lights last year for those who needed them while riding at night. There are about three-hundred lights left to hand out.

Police will begin issuing tickets next week, which will focus on pedestrian and cyclist safety enforcement.

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