Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Operation
May 15 & 17
COOK COUNTY, MINNESOTA - May 1, 2018 (LSN) As part of the local Safe Routes to School program, and ongoing efforts to improve pedestrian safety in Cook County and Grand Portage, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting a two-day pedestrian safety enforcement operation that will focus on motorists who fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at crosswalks.
Recent events have highlighted the need for focus on the school zones and educating motorists and pedestrians on the crosswalk laws. The Sheriff’s Office and Safe Routes to School Committee are conducting this public awareness and enforcement program to educate and encourage members of the community to develop and maintain safe practices while driving, walking and bicycling throughout our county, especially as we enter the busy summer months.
“This event is an opportunity for our community to show how much we value our students and their safety, whether on foot, bike, or in motor vehicles in the school zone and across our communities,” said Safe Routes to School Coordinator, Maren Webb.
In Minnesota, a crosswalk is present at all intersections, whether marked or unmarked. Motorists are required to stop for crossing pedestrians. Always scan the road for pedestrians, especially before turning, and never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians. People walking should make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street and clearly show you intend to cross. It is also recommended to remove headphones and stay off cell phones while crossing.
The two-day operation will take place on May 15, from 3:30-4:30 pm in the Cook County Schools school zone on County Road 7/5th Street in Grand Marais, and on May 17, from 3:30-4:30 pm in the Oshki Ogimaag school zone in Grand Portage. Officers from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting the enforcement operation. Officers dressed in plain clothes will be crossing the street while uniformed officers monitor the crosswalk for motorists and pedestrians who fail to yield the right-of-way or who take unsafe and illegal actions. Drivers and pedestrians stopped during this safety operation will be issued warnings or citations. Crosswalk enforcement actions are an effective way to communicate pedestrian right-of-way laws to both drivers and pedestrians.
“This pedestrian safety operation is another tool our department can use to improve traffic safety and educate motorists,” said Sheriff Pat Eliasen. “When approaching a marked or unmarked crosswalk where pedestrians are trying to cross, drivers must yield the right-of-way. This operation will serve as a reminder of this responsibility and we expect that voluntary compliance will be improved as a result. Those who choose to ignore the law and the message, however, will be deterred from future violations through enforcement. As is the case with any other traffic law, it is easy to avoid a ticket – in this case, simply yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who are in a crosswalk.”