By Danielle Nelson
*This article is posted on The Express Times website.
County workers volunteered to walk across the street during a pedestrian sting. The Northampton County Highway Safety Program, in conjunction with Bethlehem, Lehigh Valley Health Network and PennDOT, conducted a pedestrian sting at the intersection of North New and Fairview streets on July 9, 2014. Photo Credit Troy Strozeski
Fifteen motorists learned to pay more attention to pedestrians today in Bethlehem.
They were pulled over during a pedestrian sting at the intersection of North New and Fairview streets between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. today.
Sherri Penchishen, director of the chronic disease program at the Bethlehem Health Bureau, said between 45 to 60 pedestrians are injured annually in the city. As a result, the city held its first pedestrian sting since 2009.
“We are trying to educate the motoring public that they need to be cautious of pedestrians at their crosswalk, drive the speed limit and be aware of their surroundings so they can help to create a safe environment for everyone,” Penchishen said.
Bethlehem police Lt. Jeremy Alleshouse sent members of the Bethlehem Health Bureau and the Lehigh Valley Health Network across the road to see whether cars would stop for them.
“They made sure that they did not walk out in front of any cars unless it was a block up the street,” Alleshouse said. “(Violators) chose to either trap them in the middle of the road, cut them off or drove around them.”
Police gave 11 warnings and four citations for not yielding to pedestrians. The Northampton County Highway Safety Program ran the sting in conjunction with the city, Lehigh Valley Health Network and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
The city will conduct pedestrian stings until September in areas close to schools and businesses.
Tiffany Wells, from the city public works department, said the city wants to educate pedestrians as well as motorists.
In New Jersey, Hackettstown police conducted a sting last fall and issued warnings to 48 drivers during a four-hour period.
Motorists last September failed to yield to a decoy pedestrian in a marked crosswalk in the town. Police organized the sting after residents took to town council meetings to complain of cars not stopping for people in crosswalks.
In addition to future stings, police planned on speaking at schools and senior centers to educate people on pedestrian and vehicle laws. Police said penalties for failing to yield to a pedestrian included two points on the driver’s license, a $200 fine and insurance surcharges.
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