APTOS—The California Highway Patrol in the Santa Cruz Area is implementing a 12-month enforcement and education campaign to reduce the number of fatal and injury traffic crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists in the unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County.
The Santa Cruz Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Project campaign, which began Oct. 1, and ends Sept. 30, 2023 is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“Santa Cruz County is well known for the 29 miles of coastline frequently visited by the local community along with countless tourists annually,” the CHP stated in a press release. “Despite the numerous off highway beach access points, many visitors to the coast choose to seek alternate access points which require parking along the highway. This leads to frequent unsafe crossings and pedestrians walking along the highway shoulder.”
In 2019 CHP Santa Cruz received an average of four “pedestrian in the roadway” calls per day — more than 1,200 calls for the year. Between federal fiscal years 2018 and 2020, 14 people were killed and 241 were injured in crashes involving pedestrians or bicyclists in the county, the CHP said.
As part of the campaign, officers will conduct enhanced enforcement patrols in Santa Cruz County focusing on pedestrian and bicycle safety while also staging regular public education events to reinforce how best to walk and bike safely.