SPD work to lower pedestrian crashes with a patrol emphasis

About a dozen Spokane Police officers and Washington State Patrol troopers were out patrolling in the South Hill Friday, making sure motorists and pedestrians know the rules of the roadway.

Pedestrian Lola Wink takes her dog Lucy on a walk three times a day.

“You have to be really alert and watch the traffic, because if you don’t, you’re going down,” she said.

She prepares herself for their walks at night, but sometimes it’s not enough because she’s had some near-misses.

“I really thought we were going to be safe. I had a full reflective vest on. I had a head lamp, a flashlight and she had a reflective vest and I thought surely, they weren’t paying attention,” she said.

On Friday, Spokane Police and Washington State Patrol were out enforcing the law, making sure that walkers like Lola can get around safely.

“A lot of people don’t realize when a pedestrian steps off the curb into the roadway, they’re saying ‘Hey, I want to cross,'” said Sgt. John Griffin, with SPD.

They also had an officer dressed as a pedestrian, crossing the road many times to catch violators.

There were quite a few people who were pulled over – not even just for failing to yield to a pedestrian, but also other violations.

Last time they held the patrol, Sgt. Griffin said they caught 12 to 16 people who were also on their phones.

A citation for failure to yield to a pedestrian is $139. However, the money isn’t the issue. It’s a life that could be taken.

“I don’t want to see anybody get hurt. I don’t want to do any death notifications,” Sgt. Griffin said.

Everyone has a responsibility while on the road as well. Drivers need to pay attention to the road and their surroundings, and pedestrians need to make sure that it is safe enough to walk.

“You have to get the drivers eyes, to make sure you even start to cross,” Wink said.

In 2018, SPD said there were 269 accidents that include bicyclists and pedestrians.

The patrol was started after SPD received a grant for $18,000 for the calendar year from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. Fridays patrol was the fifth time this year.