Doug Burbridge, a volunteer for the Roseburg Police Department, stood at the beginning of a crosswalk on Southeast Pine Street, preparing to cross the street.
He watched as four cars whizzed by him — not stopping before the crosswalk.
Burbridge was the focus of the latest Roseburg Police Department pedestrian safety event Friday morning to raise awareness about pedestrian safety in the area.
“Across the state, we have a lot of accidents involving vehicles either striking pedestrians in crosswalks or in crossing areas,” police spokesman Jeff Eichenbusch said. “We’re trying to make people aware of the laws regarding pedestrian crossings so that we can limit those or try to reduce the number of those accidents.”
Burbridge wore a fluorescent orange shirt that mimicked the orange cone set about a block ahead that warned drivers a pedestrian safety event was underway.
The law states a driver must stop once a pedestrian is at the sidewalk ready to cross — before they even step into the road. This is a common misconception for drivers, Eichenbusch said.
“There’s a lot of people that, for whatever reason, believe that if the pedestrian is not in the roadway, that they don’t have to wait for them to cross,” Eichenbusch said. “That’s probably the biggest mistake that we’ll see.”
The test was simple: if a driver passed the cone before Burbridge approached the sidewalk, they wouldn’t be pulled over. However, if they hadn’t passed the cone and did not stop, two officers standing by would pursue the vehicle and issue a citation or warning.
“We do focus a little bit more on citations just because that’s the focus of the event, and we’ve found a lot of times warnings don’t have as much of an impact as something like this so most of the crosswalk violations get issued citations,” Eichenbusch said.
This event is made possible through a grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon Impact.
“This issue is always a concern for law enforcement but we don’t have the resources or the ability to focus solely on that,” Eichenbusch said. “So when the grant came out, that gave us that ability because it basically provided that funding so that we could staff people to do it.”
Burbridge said he has volunteered for this event nearly every time it’s been held for the past few years.
“It’s a worthwhile thing to do because it builds people’s awareness. Like Jeff (Eichenbusch) was saying earlier, a lot of people expect you to be in the street basically,” Burbridge said.