See! Be Seen! Ramapo Police Department Launches New Pedestrian Safety Campaign
By M. C. Millman
The Ramapo Police Department is participating in the State of New York’s annual pedestrian safety campaign. This year’s See! Be Seen! campaign will run through Thursday, June 23, to help decrease pedestrian-involved crashes. The campaign will include officers, both plainclothes and in uniform, conducting educational and awareness outreach by issuing warnings to violators and distributing educational materials, followed by continued engagement and enforcement through ticketing.
“Often, people are oblivious to the rules of the road,” says Legislator Aron Weider. “By the rules of the road, we mean rules for drivers and pedestrians. Rockland’s traffic has increased tremendously, and many of our local roads have no shoulders or sidewalks. We have to learn how to stay safe on the road, keep others safe and teach our children about pedestrian safety as well.”
The Town has been proactive about pedestrian safety awareness since 2014. The Pedestrian Safety Details targets areas with the highest pedestrian accident rate. While Ramapo averaged 50-60 pedestrian-related accidents per year in the past, in 2019, that number rose dramatically when 113 pedestrians were struck by vehicles in the Town of Ramapo. After a drop in incidents to 80 in 2020, attributed to COVID, the number rose again to 99 in 2021.
“We want to educate our drivers and our pedestrians; adults and children alike,” says Lieutenant Blaine Howell of the Ramapo Police Department. “Pedestrians don’t realize they don’t have the right of way all the time.”
Drivers who don’t yield to plainclothes officers in crosswalks during the campaign will be issued a summons or given a warning card with rules for pedestrian safety on it.
“This is not a ‘Gotcha!’ campaign,” says Lieutenant Howell. “Drivers will be given plenty of time to see our plainclothes officers. We want to get compliance to reduce the number of pedestrians struck on the road.”
During the year, the Town of Ramapo Police Department has two full-time Community and Problem-Oriented Police officers who deal with community needs and concerns, including pedestrian safety. During the See! Be Seen! campaign, there are four details of two to four officers focused on pedestrians and drivers not following the rules.
“For us, this is not just a two-week campaign,” says Lieutenant Howell. “We go into schools to talk to children and teach them where it’s safe and not safe to cross the street. We also hand out reflectors which are also available free at the Ramapo Police Department and Town Hall. We are dedicated to reducing the number of pedestrians struck by vehicles in the Town of Ramapo.”