Police enforce pedestrian safety with sting operation

June 19, 2013 7:31:11 PM PDT
Too many pedestrians have become targets for cars in San Mateo County, even when they're in crosswalks. So police went undercover Wednesday to do something about it. Officers ran sting operations in Burlingame, Hillsborough, San Mateo and Foster City.

One of the four recent pedestrian fatalities in the county happened near Hillsdale Boulevard in San Mateo in May. A construction van struck a woman as she was walking across the street.

Police, sheriff's deputies and California Highway Patrol officers targeted known trouble spots.

It was like a tag team. Motorcycle units were pulling over drivers one by one. Even the police decoys couldn't believe how many cars dangerously whizzed by them.

"Even with the yellow vest, no one seems to stop," police pedestrian decoy Camille Cosca said.

By noon, officers from the multi-agency Peninsula sting had ticketed 261 drivers in Foster City and at 39th Avenue and El Camino Real in San Mateo. One hundred citations were for failure to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Citations will cost drivers $250-$350.

Hillsborough police Sgt. Pat Barrett also gave out a lot of warnings instead of citations.

"It's not just about enforcement, it's about education, giving people just a friendly reminder when possible to just be safe," Barrett said.

Those who were stopped had all sorts of excuses, ranging from they thought the pedestrian was going to stop to they didn't see anyone in the crosswalk.

"The irony was I saw all the motorcycles and thought what are they doing over there," a motorist named Brian said.