LBPD boosts efforts to promote pedestrian safety


With pedestrian traffic and cell phone use on the rise, the Laguna Beach Police Department has launched an initiative to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted walking and promote safe practices for crossing streets.

Pedestrians cross Coast Highway on their way to Main Beach. Clara Beard/LB Indy

“Pedestrian safety is a top priority for our city,” said Laguna Beach Mayor Sue Kempf. “We want everyone who walks in Laguna Beach to feel safe and secure. By raising awareness about the risks of distracted walking and promoting safe practices at crosswalks, we aim to reduce accidents and make our streets safer for everyone.”

Laguna Beach Police Chief Jeff Calvert added, “It’s crucial for both pedestrians and drivers to be vigilant and attentive. Simple actions like putting away your phone while walking and making eye contact with drivers can significantly enhance safety. Let’s all do our part to keep Laguna Beach safe.”

Safety tips for pedestrians include:

  1. Always use designated crosswalks, press the button first, and proceed with caution, as vehicles may not always stop even when the crosswalks are lit.
  2. Look both ways before stepping into the crosswalk to cross the street, even when you have the right of way.  Make eye contact with drivers before crossing.
  3. Cross in crosswalks at traffic light intersections whenever possible.
  4. At the scramble intersection crosswalks, wait for the walk sign before crossing, even if the traffic signal changes for vehicles first.
  5. Wear bright or reflective clothing, especially at dusk or at night, to increase visibility to drivers.
  6. Avoid distractions such as texting or using headphones while walking near traffic or crossing the street.
  7. Stay on sidewalks whenever possible, and if a sidewalk is not available, walk facing traffic to see oncoming vehicles.

Safety tips for drivers include:

  1. Be vigilant and watch for pedestrians, especially at crosswalks.
  2. Avoid distractions such as texting or using your phone while driving.
  3. Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and stop completely before allowing them to cross.
  4. Be especially cautious in areas with heavy foot traffic and near schools.

California Assembly Bill 2147, which went into effect earlier this year, decriminalizes jaywalking when no immediate hazard is present. This change has raised concerns about pedestrian safety in cities across the state.

“While the intention behind California Assembly Bill 2147 may be to reduce unnecessary citations, it unfortunately undermines years of efforts to educate the public on pedestrian safety,” said Laguna Beach Police Chief Jeff Calvert. “This change creates a significant risk for both pedestrians and drivers. It’s essential for our community to remain vigilant and adhere to safe crossing practices to prevent accidents and ensure everyone’s safety on our streets.”


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  1. “Simple actions like putting away your phone while walking and making eye contact with drivers can significantly enhance safety.”
    Police Chief Jeff Calvert nailed that one, a definite pet peeve of mine and an obviously endangering activity: Having lived here for 52 years, the advent of cell phone usage, the “everywhere, any time, all at once” mentality, surely a symptom of entitlement, now prevails.
    Whether driving, walking our sidewalks or crossing streets, cell users seem oblivious to their surroundings and in fact jeopardize not only their lives but those of others.
    Irresponsibly, they even bump into us on our sidewalks, then grumble at what they in fact caused, reflecting lack of maturity and accountability.
    I think statistics would bear me out, this type of selfish behavior is still on the rise as phones proliferate.
    California, to make matters worse, changed our laws to basically allow pedestrians the right-of-way in every/any circumstance, signaled or non-signaled crosswalks.
    Even open road situations, where anyone with half of a brain shouldn’t run/walk the gauntlet that places like Laguna Canyon Road or PCH represent.
    Especially pertinent at night, in areas of already questionable, diminished sight conditions, being righteous can still cost a life—-and send a motorist into deep depression, guilt, when in fact it was the pedestrian’s poor choice that created the accident potential.
    This idea, that the pedestrian is ALWAYS in the right, i.e., has the right of way over vehicles though they may be driving at or under the speed limit, adhering to existent, restricting road conditions (like when it’s raining at night), was a ridiculous change.
    Vehicles usually weigh a ton or 2, or more, hence inertia mass energy increases take over—It’s what Einstein meant with E=MC2.
    A vehicle at any speed has more mass, increased by the rate of speed.
    Not sure who JW is, but increasing enforcement, issuing tickets without reigning in chronic, life-threatening cell usage by drivers and pedestrians alike also brings Einstein to mind.
    Repeating the same activity over and over, expecting a different result, is insane.
    Howsabout a local ordinance that builds on the State one regarding driving distractions like cell use, that pedestrian cell users MUST take their phones away from their ears while crossing streets in Laguna, then they get ticketed?
    If pedestrians were serious about their own safety (or if crossing with family or friends), then they need to be held accountable.
    The ladder of public safety law should be justly equitable, have no top or no bottom.


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