The Belmont Police Department, in cooperation with, Millbrae, Burlingame, Foster City, San Mateo Police Departments, the San Mateo County Sheriff's San Carlos Police Bureau & the California Highway Patrol will be conducting a joint Pedestrian Decoy Operation on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 in the City of Belmont.  The Belmont operation will be conducted between 8:30 AM and 2:00 PM at several intersections in Belmont. 

[official story continued below]

EDITORIAL COMMENT: I poke fun at this piece but I literally sit near the crosswalk in front of our RE/MAX office next door to Vivace with our admin assistant and I watch day dreaming drivers nearly slaughter 30 pedestrians a day (her estimate not mine—she has a slightly better view).

And the pedestrians don’t help the matter. They wait until a car is barreling down upon them and set out in front of the oncoming car as if the crosswalk afforded them some sort of "force-field" protection from a ton of metal on four wheels at 30 mph with an oblivious operator at the helm–or not.

In my opinion both camps are to blame. I did a piece on this issue when they first installed the flashing lights on the street.

Many pedestrians approach this with an argument “Hey, it’s the law, the cars must stop when I’m in the crosswalk so I’ll just set right out and cross whenever I want to”, as if to tempt or defy Darwin’s evolution theory of survival of the fittest; and they don’t look first either. How else could a pedestrian get hit by a car except for stepping out when they probably shouldn’t while not paying attention?

PEDESTRIANS–Wait for the light at Alameda to turn red and all the cars will start slowing down anyway, and then hit the flashing light and cross the street once you are SURE the cars will stop. Unless it’s pouring rain, it’s the courteous thing to do and what you’d like a pedestrian to do when you are out of your shoes and into theirs—pedal to the metal.

DRIVERS–Now it’s not the fault of the cars it’s the drivers who are usually not paying attention. Focused with the tunnel vision seen only under the most stressful of situations they are glued to the mesmerizingly colorful traffic signal at the intersection of Alameda as if willing it to stay green will work—if they just stare at it hard enough. This is done all the while making dinner plans on their cell phones of course. They invariably miss the flashing crosswalk lights and fortunately the miss the pedestrians too—if only by a few inches.

Now much of this could be resolved if the city simply moved the crosswalk to the next block east near the video store and handed out "how to cross the street" pamphlets. You see the corner of our RE/MAX building harbors a blind spot to on coming west bound suburbanites and affords a perfect location for daring or unwitting pedestrians to hide before making their startling presence in the crosswalk just milliseconds after actuating the warning lights—sometimes performed with the adeptness of a track and field star. But don’t they use a closed course?


Police personnel in plain clothes will be used to cross the roadways in marked crosswalks, while motorcycle officers will watch for pedestrian right of way violations.  Motorists failing to yield the right of way to the pedestrian will be stopped and may be issued a citation under section 21950 of the California Vehicle Code. 

"Our goal is to raise drivers' awareness of their responsibility to stop for pedestrians in marked crosswalks," explained Sergeant Mike Braké of the Belmont Police Department.  "This is an opportunity to educate the motoring public on pedestrian right of way and related traffic laws", continued Sgt. Braké [and increase our city coffers]. 

The departments will carry out enforcement of pedestrian right of way violations on a continuous basis and will continue to work together on future pedestrian decoy events in their respective cities.


Care to rate this post?