The number of pedestrians killed on Oahu’s roads is headed in the wrong direction.
Last year, Honolulu police recorded 25 pedestrian fatalities. That’s a huge jump from the 19 recorded in 2013 and 16 recorded in 2012.
Police are now getting tough on enforcing the rules of the road, and that means passing out tickets with a hefty fine to both pedestrians and drivers.
On Monday, Jan. 12, officers were at King and Kopke streets in Kalihi for the first official day of the new pedestrian safety and enforcement campaign.
While no pedestrians received tickets, police say officers issued 52 citations to drivers who failed to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk.
The campaign, which runs through Saturday, Feb. 14, is an initiative from the Honolulu Police Department’s traffic division in partnership with Walk Wise Hawaii.
Officers will be deployed to intersections and crosswalks across Oahu, with some posing as civilian pedestrians.
An announcement was made Friday, Jan. 9, as officers manned two intersections near Ala Moana Center.
While some offered friendly warnings and educational brochures, others did not hesitate to ticket violators.
“We’re here to send a message. We’re going to try to educate the public and if that is not going to work, we’re going to have to do enforcement,” said traffic division commander Maj. Calvin Tong.
That enforcement carries a hefty penalty. For those who violate pedestrian laws, you will pay a $130 fine, and the same applies to motorists who don’t stop for pedestrians in the same half of the roadway.
The law prohibits pedestrians from stepping into an intersection once the red hand starts to flash.
KHON2 saw one woman receive a $130 ticket for doing just that on Friday.
“Just because you stepped off the curb into a crosswalk, you are not totally safe,” Tong said. “You have to be aware. You have to look around.”
Many pedestrians are aware of the dangers of crossing the street.
“It’s very dangerous,” said Margaret Agustin. “I worked in the area for the past several years and it’s high-volume traffic and I’ve seen many pedestrian and vehicle accidents.”
“I guess I’m used to living in a big city so you watch out and pay attention to the traffic around you,” said Lisa Vallin.
Police say a new task force will be going around the island to look for trouble spots in the hopes of saving lives.