Cornell Police will be issuing tickets to those who “choose to disobey the rules of the road” during its third annual road safety campaign.
During the campaign, police officers stand near busy intersections and issue warnings to pedestrians who jaywalk or step out in front of vehicles and bicyclists and skateboarders who disobey traffic rules. They also distribute educational flyers and answer questions, according to the press release.
Last year, 143 tickets were issued during the two-day campaign. Several students who were ticketed expressed frustration at the campaign, and one elderly man swung at CUPD officers after being cited for jaywalking.
The campaign is a timely response to what Kathy Zoner, chief of the CUPD, called a “huge” increase in traffic-related personal injuries.
Forty accidents have been reported to the police over the past two years, Zoner said. Half of these accidents, according to the press release, involved pedestrians, bicyclists and skateboarders.
So far in 2012, this ratio has increased: approximately two-thirds of all traffic accidents resulting in injuries, involved pedestrians, bicyclists or skateboarders, according to the press release.
“In such accidents, the pedestrian, bicyclist or skateboarder has been frequently found to be at fault,” the press release stated.
Zoner said that CUPD has recently seen “a lot of very serious accidents that have injured people in critical ways.”
For instance, in August, a freshman was hospitalized when he lost control of his skateboard and slid through a stop sign, colliding with a garbage truck.
CUPD also works to enforce traffic rules in the interest of reducing crime. According to research, Zoner said, areas where there are high infractions of traffic laws have been shown to be related to areas that have high levels of crime.
“We have a very [active] traffic enforcement program that helps us identify people who don’t belong on campus or who are up to no good on campus, and that helps us reduce crime,” she said.
To bolster the educational aspect of their roadway safety campaign, CUPD officers have been issuing warnings and handing out educational flyers to pedestrians, bicyclists and skateboarders since the beginning of the semester, according to the press release. Officers have been targeting commuters who disobey crossing signals or cross the road improperly, according to David Honan, deputy chief of the CUPD.
CUPD will focus its efforts at the intersections of Campus Road and College Avenue, East Avenue and Tower Road, Tower Road and Garden Avenue, and Thurston Avenue and East Avenue, according to Honan.
“We have issued many warnings and distributed over 2,200 pedestrian educational flyers distributed at intersections, welcome BBQ’s, residential hall meetings and other locations,” Honan said in an email.
The annual enforcement campaign is being funded with a $2,170 highway safety grant from the New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, according to the press release.
Because the campaign is being funded by the grant, CUPD will be able to conduct the campaign without diluting resources for its regular patrols or its investigations into recent bias and sexual assault incidents, according to the press release.