Fresno police patrol hotspots for pedestrian-involved crashes

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno police patrolled the streets on Friday as part of an operation designed to reduce crashes involving pedestrians throughout the city. They say those accidents are on the rise across the state as more people choose to use non-motorized means of transportation.

Ivory Hubbard knows Blackstone Avenue well. He said, "Between 3:30 and 6 o'clock, you have a lot of close calls, real close calls."

He says he had a close call earlier Friday when a driver almost didn't see him as he was crossing the street. "She was more motivated by a conversation she was carrying on with her passenger," said Hubbard.

In an effort to reduce deaths and injuries caused by accidents involving cars and pedestrians, Fresno police took to the streets Friday night, patrolling hotspots for pedestrian-involved crashes they've mapped over the last eight years. The reasons for the accidents vary.

"Texting, talking on the phone and speed probably is some of the biggest three, in addition to driving impaired as well," said Officer Sean Cowart with the Fresno Police Department's Traffic Division.

The Fresno Police Department investigated 500 fatal and injury crashes involving pedestrians between 2011 and 2013, and drivers aren't solely to blame.

"I mean, we have as the last guy we gave a citation to he's wearing dark clothing, he's darting out across traffic out here, we have signs," said Cowart. "We're not here because we want to write citations; we don't want people to get hit by a car."

"Yeah, you still have to look out, make sure an idiot doesn't run through a red light," said Rebecca Mayfield of Fresno.

"I blindly follow street signs. Red hand, green guy walking, that's me," said Matt Bethell of Fresno.

Hubbard has some words of wisdom for all pedestrians before he goes: give drivers respect and distance. "See, you can't read the next person's mind, and they can't read yours, so give them that respect to either allow them to go or wait until they recognize you," he said.

A couple of officers patrolling one area of Blackstone Avenue in Central Fresno say they handed out 10 citations to pedestrians in an hour. It was also a busy night for them because they had DUI patrols going on as well.
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