Berkeley police ticket 32 drivers who failed to stop for pedestrians

Earlier this week, Berkeley police ticketed dozens of drivers who blew through crosswalks where pedestrians were trying to walk, the department reports.

On Wednesday morning, officers wearing plainclothes used marked crosswalks to cross Berkeley streets while officers in uniform watched for drivers who failed to stop for them, BPD said. Police looked for violations in downtown Berkeley near the Cal campus at Fulton and Kittredge streets, and also at Sacramento and Virginia streets in North Berkeley, according to a video BPD posted of the operation.

The department has already investigated 82 injury collisions in 2020 involving pedestrians or cyclists, BPD said in a prepared statement. (Berkeleyside has repeatedly asked BPD for collision data this year, but so far it has not been provided.)

A grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) paid for this week’s pedestrian safety operation, which was aimed “to reduce injury collisions in Berkeley,” BPD said. The city regularly ranks No. 1 on the list, when compared to other cities in California, for injury collisions involving pedestrians and cyclists. In 2017, the most recent year available, 126 pedestrians and 142 cyclists were injured or killed in Berkeley crashes.

On Wednesday, BPD said, officers ticketed 32 drivers, gave five warnings “and educated them on the dangers that are associated with these violations.” No further information was immediately available.

Under state law, “The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.” The law, which also requires pedestrians to use caution when crossing the street, continues: “The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action relating to the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.”

The Berkeley Police Department produced a video about Wednesday’s pedestrian safety operation.