RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Police are ramping up enforcement for St. Patrick’s Day, but not just for drunk driving. Pedestrian safety is a big focus this year as well, especially as northern Nevada has seen so many pedestrian-involved accidents in the last year.
The Reno Police Department began adding enforcement earlier in the week. They have extra officers on bicycles, motorcycles and in cars. Thursday, they put an officer in a leprechaun outfit and had him walk through crosswalks in downtown and midtown.
“It’s just a reminder to the public, to drivers out there that if you don’t see this leprechaun out there, because you’re not paying attention, you’re probably not going to see the average citizen,” Sergeant Joseph Lever with the Reno Police Department said.
Police ticketed drivers who did not stop for the green-clad officer as he crossed the street, hoping to raise awareness about pedestrian safety ahead of the Irish holiday.
“We don’t expect people not to drink and walk, we’re not saying don’t drink and walk, but just be safe. Be attentive, maybe have someone that can help take care of you or call a cab, or take a bus or take some other mode of transportation,” Sergeant Lever said.
Police are asking drivers to take it extra slow around crosswalks, and pedestrians to wear bright colors and look twice before stepping onto the street. Pedestrians were at fault in about half of the pedestrian-related accidents in the last twelve months. It is Nevada state law to give time for a driver to see you before stepping into a crosswalk.
Northern Nevada traffic safety partners including the City of Reno Police Department, Nevada Department of Public Safety, Nevada Highway Patrol, Zero Fatalities, Regional Transportation of Washoe County, Nevada Department of Transportation, and University of Nevada Reno Police Department.