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Police focus on bike, brake and pedestrian safety

Culpeper police plan to be busy this week as they conduct safety initiatives regarding pedestrian and bicycle and commercial vehicles.

The week of September 9-15 is Virginia’s Fourth Annual Bicyclist and Pedestrian Awareness Week and also Brake Safety Week for commercial motor vehicles.

Culpeper police will pay special attention to pedestrian crosswalks during the week, making sure cars stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Strategically placed electronic message boards will alert motorists to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks as required by state law.

“Pedestrians have the right-of-way in crosswalks and motorists need to pay attention and stop,” Police Chief Chris Jenkins said.

Police also want bicyclists to know that they must obey traffic laws, stopping at stop signs and stop lights, as well as riding with the flow of traffic.

In 2011, 81 people were killed walking or cycling on the state’s roadways. Another 730 bicyclists and 1,712 pedestrians were injured.

Drive Smart Virginia and BikeWalk Virginia are partnering to increase awareness and improve understanding to reduce fatalities and injuries. As part of that effort, Culpeper police offer bike helmets as part of the campaign for bicyclists needing the head gear for protection.

“Wearing headgear while riding a bike is smart,” said Sgt. Andy Berry. “An accident can happen without notice and the helmet may help avoid serious head injury should the rider fall off the bike.”

This week, Culpeper police, along with Virginia State Police troopers, Division of Motor Vehicle weight enforcement crew and a DMV agent will conduct a commercial motor vehicle safety checkpoint during Operation Air Brake/Brake Safety Week.

“Ensuring that commercial vehicles operate properly and have good brakes is important to not only the commercial vehicle drivers but also the public in general,” said Chief Jenkins. “Enforcing state and federal commercial vehicle laws and educating drivers is an important goal to make our highways safer for everyone.”
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