Pedestrians in Boulder who neglect to activate the crosswalk signal could find themselves slapped with a relatively offensive $50 fine — even when crossing in a manner otherwise in compliance with the law — as authorities crack down on the problem keeping everyone up at night: crossing the street.
Yes (nearly irresistible compulsion to quip chicken versus road jokes aside) police in the cannabis-legal Colorado city had the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists in mind with its ‘Heads Up Boulder’ campaign to educate the citizenry on the perils of the crosswalk, considering data show 60 percent of fatalities and serious injuries occurred — you guessed it — inside crosswalks.
“The Heads Up Boulder campaign is an opportunity to remind the community that pedestrian and bicyclist safety is a top priority,” remarked Boulder Police Chief Greg Testa in a statement cited by the Boulder News. “Collision statistics show crosswalks can be surprisingly dangerous, and all road users need to exercise caution and awareness of others to make us all safer.”
Indeed, that public education program seems warranted — but all attempts by the city to appear the compassionate protector are belied in its albeit direct flirtation with Nanny State fascism.
Fines for violations during the ostensively temporary safety blitz aren’t forgiving, either, at $50 a pop, and will be swiftly handed down to pedestrians — and bicyclists — who fail to press the walk button before crossing the street.
Cyclists have an additional $50 mandate to slow down specifically to 8 miles per hour or slower when crossing (after pressing the walk button, of course — otherwise, this might be considered a double-ding); but motorists face the harshest fines, at $125, should they fail to stop when pedestrians are present in a crossing.
“We want to educate people on the safety of traveling through crosswalks as well as the intersections,” Boulder Transportation Planner Matthew Jones asserted. “It’s something that we’re tackling here in Boulder, statewide and nationally and these crosswalk crashes and collisions are something that we deal with.”
He added, “A lot of the times it’s about the education process, so what we’re going to be doing is educating folks.”
As long as the markedly costlier fines and penalties meted out beginning July 24th shrink back to their only slightly more reasonable proportions come with the end of Heads Up Boulder on the 28th, perhaps it could be said the program performed the function of public awareness.
However, that this targeted ticketing — locations of focus can be found listed here — will be enacted even once intimates officials are considering permanency at some later date.
Perhaps a better educator of individuals isn’t extortion of income for fines to pay bureaucrats’ salaries, but common sense — which would ordinarily dictate you don’t run people over in intersections — whether or not they pressed a special button saying it was time to cross.
Perhaps it isn’t fair to call Boulder to lone task for the peculiar penchant for applying monetary penalty to, well, every conceivable violation of code, regulation, or law — but treating the adult public as incapable of discerning when to safely cross the street is the biggest of Big Government absurdities.
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Contributed by Claire Bernish of The Daily Sheeple.