By Melissa Lampert, KHTS Staff Writer
KHTS AM-1220’s latest “Neighborhood Watch” show, featuring Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Deputy and Zone Leader Kevin Duxbury and sponsored by All American Bail Bonds in Santa Clarita, centered around pedestrian safety in the SCV.
“Basically pedestrians always have the right of way, regardless if they’re crossing the street legally or illegally,” Duxbury said. “You’re supposed to yield to them. Now that’s not to say that you can just cross the street anywhere you want. The pedestrian can also be cited for jaywalking or walking in the street, failure to obey signals, all that kind of stuff.”
In an effort to monitor the level of safety of pedestrians crossing local streets, Duxbury and other deputies recently posted themselves at Valencia Boulevard and McBean Parkway.
“I was there in my civilian clothes with another deputy, and basically what we did was we just kept crossing the street right there to see what we would get,” Duxbury said. “I gotta admit, there were times it was pretty terrifying.”
When two cars turned in front of him and a third card behind him, Duxbury described the experience as being “in this valley of cars going around me,” which he called “a little bit scary.”
In addition to drivers failing to yield to the deputies, Duxbury observed numerous other pedestrians unaware of the project who also encountered drivers failing to yield to them while they crossed the street legally.
In the one-and-a-half-hour period the deputies conducted the project, a total of 40 citations were issued, according to Duxbury.
Although the law requires drivers to wait for a pedestrian to reach the other side of the street before they turn, Duxbury clarified that citations were only issued to those who clearly failed to yield to pedestrians.
“I’m not encouraging people to do this, but when we went out we did have some discretion,” he said. “If somebody was completely past the center median and then a person made that right turn, we applied discretion, we let that go because they were yielding to the person. They did let them cross. The ones that we cited were the ones that blatantly put myself and other pedestrians at risk.”
The traffic court and judge determine fines for failing to yield to pedestrians, but the only way to completely avoid the costly and time-consuming process of receiving a citation is to safely yield to all pedestrians, according to Duxbury.
“They have the ability to give you maximum fines or reduced fines or community service in lieu of fines,” he said.
Sponsored by All American Bail Bonds in Santa Clarita, “Neighborhood Watch” airs on KHTS AM-1220 the first and third Thursday of every month.
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