Fresno police officers cracking down on bike, pedestrian violations

News

Extra police officers are patrolling the streets of Fresno. 

They’re cracking down on bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers who are breaking the law.

This comes as the number of bicycle and pedestrian deaths are on the rise. It’s also National Bicycle Safety Awareness Month.

Back in 2016, nearly 140 bicyclists were killed on California roads, up nearly 25% since 2012. Over 850 pedestrians were also killed. That’s up about 33% from 2012.

In about a 30 minute period police stopped four pedestrians. There were more than a dozen others that could have been cited as well.

The number one violation we saw however, was people crossing the street on a red hand signal.

“There’s a violation right here,” said Officer Joe Ploharz. “We got a pedestrian crossing the road. People trying to make a turn. His light was red the whole time so we’ll pull over here.”

Officer Ploharz has been patrolling Fresno’s roads for nearly 20 years.

On Monday, nine officers and a sergeant joined him in cracking down on traffic violations.

“The reason why I’m stopping you is because the hand is red and you have to stop,” Officer Ploharz explained to a man at Fresno Street and Highway 99.

Within minutes, two others did the same thing. 

“This is a ticket for crossing when you’re not supposed to against the red hand,” he explained.

“This is my area where I work and it’s non stop accidents involving the homeless pedestrians or mental illness drunk or high.”

In 2018, 25 pedestrians and five bicyclists were killed in the City of Fresno according to police. This makes up at least 60% of the fatalities police investigated, steadily increasing from years before.

Officer Ploharz says there’s a number of other laws people break that could mean a ticket in your hand.

This includes drivers not giving bicyclists three feet of space.

“Bikes have to do the same rules as a car and cars can’t drive on sidewalks,” Officer Ploharz said. 

Bikes riding against the flow of traffic is common. And, a big one is drivers not waiting until a pedestrian gets to the other side of the sidewalk.

“Happens a lot in school zones,” he explained.

The goal is to save lives and try to prevent one less crash on the road.

A ticket will cost you upwards of $150 if crossing the street on a red hand signal. 

The operation runs until 10 Monday evening. It’s paid for by a California Office of Traffic Safety grant.

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