DOES THIS PHOTO LOOK FAMILIAR? Amid growing concern over pedestrian accidents, Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox today announced a campaign that he hopes will get people’s attention.
“As motorists drive through Wyckoff they may encounter pedestrians attempting to cross the road,” Fox said. “It could be a woman pushing a baby stroller, children attempting to get to school, an elderly couple walking slowly, a man in a kilt with a bagpipe, or four police officers who look absolutely nothing like the Beatles.
“Whoever it may be, motorists must stop for all pedestrians.”
Those who don’t will be targeted by borough police in what Fox promised would be “aggressive enforcement of the pedestrian laws.”
The “COPS IN CROSSWALKS” program, like others under way in Ridgewood, Fort Lee and other towns, uses decoy officers in plain clothes who repeatedly cross streets looking for approaching drivers who have enough room to stop but don’t.
Violators face penalties of $200 and two points off their driver’s license.
As the chief pointed out, New Jersey law requires that all drivers of a vehicle must stop and stay stopped for pedestrians crossing the roadway in a marked crosswalk. Drivers approaching from the rear of a car stopped for a pedestrian cannot overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.
The exception to the requirement to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk is when the driver is traveling straight through a green traffic signal.
But this also is true: Pedestrians cannot enter the roadway when a vehicle is approaching and is so close that it is impossible for the driver to stop or yield.
With a nod toward some of recent accidents in Bergen County, Fox urged drivers to be especially cautious when making left turns.
“Typically before you turn, the driver is focused straight ahead to assure that they can turn in front of approaching traffic,” he said. “However, you must be observant of any pedestrians crossing on the adjacent street as you make the turn.”
It’s a matter of liability, as well, he said.
Under New Jersey law, there is “permissive influence that a driver did not exercise due care for the safety of a pedestrian” who is struck in a marked — or unmarked crosswalk — when it is at an intersection.
To help get the point across, members of Fox’s department assigned to the detail reenacted the Beatles iconic crossing for the cover of “Abbey Road” in a zebra crosswalk on Wyckoff Avenue.
That would be, from left: Sgt. Robert Mackay (George Harrison), a barefoot Chief Benjamin Fox (same as Paul McCartney), Sgt. Jack McEwan (Ringo Starr) and Lt. Charles Van Dyk, hands in his pockets (like John Lennon).
Pictured in background in kilt and with bagpipes — and playing “Yellow Submarine,” according to Fox: Wyckoff Township Administrator Robert J. Shannon, Jr.
Joe Heidt Motors of Ramsey even supplied a Volkswagen Beetle to represent the one in the original August 1969 photo.
“Hopefully our attempt at humor will motivate drivers to seriously think about the importance of obeying the pedestrian safety laws and contributing to a safer community,” Fox said.
PHOTO: Wyckoff Police Lt. David Murphy
WHAT WE THINK: We have literally reached a crossroads in our so-called evolution. Public safety officials ordinarily warn motorists to be careful, but alerts continue to grow for pedestrians to pay more attention crossing streets, as the number of people hit continues an alarming climb. READ MORE….