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Fort Lee Uses Crosswalk Decoy To Nab Drivers [POLL]

Motorists in Fort Lee are getting an expensive surprise when they fail to stop for pedestrians crossing the street as part of a safety program.

Police officer in Fort Lee issues tickets to driver pulled over as part of "Operation Be Seen, Be Safe"
Police officer in Fort Lee issues tickets to driver pulled over as part of “Operation Be Seen, Be Safe” (WCBS TV)

Police recently have set up decoy operations in which a plainclothes officer crosses the street at one of the city’s dangerous intersections. Motorists who don’t yield way have been pulled over. Fifty-six received tickets on Friday.

Police tell The Record “Operation Be Seen, Be Safe”  is in response to an increasing number of accidents involving pedestrians. They say 12 pedestrians have been struck in Fort Lee in the first two months of 2013. Last year, 68 people were struck and four died.

Some motorists accuse the police of not playing fair and say they couldn’t see anyone in the crosswalk until it was too late to stop.

“This is not a sneak attack,” Deputy Chief Timothy Ford told the Recond.“We want to let [drivers] know we’re doing it all over town. Our ultimate goal isn’t issuing summonses. Our ultimate goal is compliance. In Fort Lee, we have a real problem with pedestrian safety.”

Drivers who were lined up for police to issue their ticket blamed the pedestrians for taking chances when they cross. “Pedestrians are idiots, especially in New Jersey,” Julie Mendelowitz, of Hoboken, told Recond. “If someone jumps out into the walkway, what makes you think that that driver can stop in enough time to not strike that pedestrian and not get hit by the cars behind them? Are the pedestrians not endangering the drivers just as much? Where’s their ticket?”

Ford says a $15,000 state grant is footing the bill for the operation. He says the decoy program will continue in Fort Lee despite driver complaints. “As we do this program more and more, our summonses numbers will drop,” Ford said. “People are learning that pedestrians have a right to cross the street and they have to stop.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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