Methuen police used a portion of the grant to have handout cards explaining the crosswalk law. On the flip side, the card explains “Motorist Responsibilities to Bicyclists.”
Police Chief Joseph Solomon said the department wanted to highlight pedestrian safety and ultimately the issue of distracted driving and its dangers. He pointed last weekend’s horrific crash in Hampton, N.H. where two bicyclists were killed and several others injured when they were struck by a driver who may have been under the influence of a prescription painkiller. The woman was stopped 8 hours earlier for driving without a license.
That accident “highlights the inattentive driving that we are seeing across the country. It is our goal to remind drivers of their responsibilities when they’re behind the wheel of a motor vehicle,” Solomon said.
He said a combination of education, community outreach and stepped up enforcement “will keep these responsibilities in the forefront.”
Some drivers pulled over for crosswalk violations have also been arrested for having outstanding warrants, suspended licenses and unregistered cars, police said. Friday night on East Street, one car police pulled over for crosswalk violations contained four people — none of whom had a valid license. The car was towed and four people sent walking.
While they were not a recipient in the recent grant pool, Lawrence police regularly conduct crosswalk enforcement in heavily traveled pedestrian areas — including Broadway, Common Street and Essex Street. Also on Friday afternoon, two officers conducted crosswalk enforcement on Essex Street near Appleton Way. They were not using a decoy officer but watching everyday people as they tried to cross the street in the crosswalk. They issued 10 citations in less than two hours, Police Chief James Fitzpatrick said.
A year ago, that crosswalk was the backdrop for a pedestrian accident that left a Lawrence Public School administrator with serious head injuries. The crosswalk is located in front of the public school’s administrative offices.