HPD taking extra measures to ensure pedestrian safety

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This year could end up being one of the deadliest for pedestrians.

Honolulu police say each year, an average of 17 pedestrians die on Oahu. So far this year, 15 have been killed.

Police hope to reduce the number of fatalities by enforcing pedestrian safety laws across Oahu. They’ll be at various unannounced locations.

“The key here is not enforcement, the key here is getting people to take responsibility for their own safety,” HPD Chief Louis Kealoha said.

Police say it’s about having common sense and common courtesy.

Pedestrian safety lies in our hands, but do people really know what to do?

“Oh wait, sorry, I meant,” driver Brittney Lesher said, when asked a pedestrian safety question.

Not everyone does, which could prove deadly. At the very least, it could cost pedestrians. HPD will be enforcing pedestrian safety laws and handing out citations.

In 2011, Honolulu police issued 5,300 citations for pedestrian violations —  that’s citations to drivers and pedestrians who break the laws. In 2012, they issued 4,700 overall citations, and so far this year, they’ve issued 1,700 citations.

One of the main pedestrian laws people can be cited for is when to cross the street.

“If there’s a countdown, but there’s a red hand, you can still walk, right?” Lesher said.

Wrong. Police say as soon as the “don’t walk” signal starts blinking, pedestrians not allowed to cross the street. But what if a pedestrian is already in the crosswalk when the “don’t walk” signal starts blinking?

“So, I believe you still have time left if you’re in the center and then you can make it all the way,” driver Michelle Chobany said.

That’s correct. For drivers, remember when someone is walking across the street: “You should wait until they’re all the way across,” Chobany said.

HPD offers more safety tips. For pedestrians, use available crosswalks, pay attention by putting away phones and other electronic devices, and avoid leisurely strolls and walk with a purpose.

For drivers, HPD says be prepared to stop and don’t overtake vehicles that are stopped at a crosswalk. That driver is likely stopped, waiting for a pedestrian to cross the street.

“You always try to keep them as safe as they can be,” driver Kanoa Chobany said.

Not obeying these laws could cost pedestrians anywhere between $70 and nearly $140.

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