Police kick off pedestrian safety initiative

Published: Jul. 17, 2017 at 6:12 PM CDT
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The Eau Claire Police Department started an initiative today to make people more aware of pedestrian safety.

The department says pedestrian safety is a concern in Eau Claire, so this afternoon officers were throughout downtown posing as pedestrians to see how drivers obeyed the law.

"I even asked him, I said 'Did that car kind of cause a safety risk to you?' And he said, 'Yeah I mean, she was pretty close," says Eau Claire Police Officer, Tyler Larsen, to a person he pulled over for a traffic violation in an area crosswalk.

Eau Claire police took a step forward in trying to increase pedestrian safety.

"We're doing a directed enforcement that focuses on pedestrian safety so operators of vehicles are aware of what those laws are with regard to pedestrians in crosswalks and when they have to yield," says Lieutenant Tim Golden of the Eau Claire Police Department.

The initiative focused on areas of Eau Claire that see heavy foot traffic.

"We have lots of bicyclists, lots of pedestrians especially with our downtown traffic, phoenix park, the University crowd,” says Bridget Coit of the Eau Claire Police Department. “So that's what officers are going to be focusing on today is primarily those busier areas of town and making sure those pedestrians are safe when they cross the roadway."

The Eau Claire Police Department says today's initiative was not about giving citations, but more about public education and warning about pedestrian safety.

"This isn't meant to be a financial burden for somebody that might not even be aware of what the laws are,” says Golden. “It's just meant as a reminder, an educational piece for drivers."

Something many pedestrians say is important to stress.

"Everybody knows it's the law, you need to stop for pedestrians so I think it's something that's really important to be enforced,” says Laurie Goetzka of Hixton, Wis.

"Like I said just a warning,” says Tyler. “Keep it, put it on the fridge as a reminder, okay?"