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San Rafael's STRIDE Campaign Aims To Reduce Accidents Between Cars And Pedestrians

SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) -- San Rafael police are rolling out a new campaign aimed at protecting motorists and pedestrians on city streets.

Stopping Traffic Related Injuries and Deaths through Enforcement, or STRIDE, is an aggressive enforcement program that will place emphasis on intersections heavily populated by vehicles and pedestrians.

"The City of San Rafael and the San Rafael Police Department take the safety of our residents and visitors seriously," San Rafael police Chief Diana Bishop said in a statement.

"STRIDE is an effort to proactively address safety concerns relating to automobiles, pedestrians and bicycles sharing our roadways. Our goal is to dramatically reduce the number of accidents involving automobiles and pedestrians/bicycles through enforcement and education," Bishop said.

The city has changed pedestrian crossing signs to a highly visible lime green in an effort to increase safety for pedestrians. Signs have been increased at crosswalks without signals in addition to a "ladder" style painting to mark the crosswalks.

In 2003, the Police Department started the Pedestrians In Crosswalks and Safety Operation, or PICASO, but it was forced to end due to cutbacks to funding and personnel.

In the new campaign, officers will be looking for violators among pedestrians and bicyclists in addition to motorists.

Citations will be issued to motorists for failing to yield to pedestrians in addition to other moving violations. Pedestrians will be stopped and cited for crossing against regulatory signs and jaywalking.

In 2013, vehicle collisions in San Rafael injured 41 pedestrians and killed two. Collisions injured 209 people citywide during the year.

So far this year, 71 people have been injured in vehicle collisions, including 12 pedestrians. Two of three people killed by vehicle collisions this year were pedestrians, police said.

Pedestrians are reminded to exercise caution around drivers who may be distracted, under the influence of alcohol or drugs or may be unaware of pedestrians.

Drivers are reminded to slow down when turning or entering a crosswalk, always stop at crosswalks for pedestrians and never use a cellphone without a hands-free device.

Anyone looking for more information on the STRIDE campaign may call San Rafael police Cpl. Justin Graham or spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher at (415) 485-3000.

© Copyright 2014 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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