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Bergenfield Police Deploy Decoys To Emphasize Pedestrian Safety

A student and crossing guard stand near the busy intersection of South Front Street and East Clinton Avenue in Bergenfield, not far from the high school and railroad tracks. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule
Students leaving class walk along East Clinton Avenue near Bergenfield High School. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule

BERGENFIELD, NJ — Bergenfield police are positioning decoys around the borough through the end of the month to flag down drivers who refuse to yield to pedestrians and hand them summonses.

The borough is participating in Street Smart NJ, a public education and awareness campaign aimed at drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists, in an effort to reduce accidents and fatalities.

“Unfortunately, many people don’t even know the law of yielding to pedestrians,” Capt. Mustafa Rabboh told Daily Voice.

The department planned its participation in the initiative long before a borough crossing guard was struck by a car earlier this month.The program was tested in select communities in New Jersey two years ago and has continued to expand across the state ever since.Fort Lee and Ridgewood police say their programs have been extremely effective in protecting pedestrians.

According to the Street Smart NJ website, motor vehicle accidents cost the lives of 169 pedestrians in New Jersey last year. Not everyone in Bergenield was happy with the decoy deployment.

“I don’t think the drivers go too fast -- usually it's slow," said Sergio Valencia, a sophomore who was walking home from Bergenfield High School.

“I don’t know what they expect me to do. I got a ticket when a pedestrian crossed in front of me without looking,” said Joanne Palmer, a local resident.

"Once you inform [the public] of the violations [for offenders], they'll have a better understanding," Rabboh countered. "So it’s not so much that we are issuing summonses, but we’re letting drivers know there is no reason not to yield to a pedestrian.”


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