ity of Red Bluff gets tough on safety

By RICH GREENE-DN Staff Writer
Posted: 04/29/2009 06:58:29 AM PDT

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A memorial sits off to the side on Aloha Street for Donald Jay Allen Ledford, 10, of Red Bluff who died as a result of injuries from an April 14 bicycle versus vehicle collision. The street also bears the hand-painted words Sweet Dreams Donald.

The Red Bluff Police Department announced Tuesday it would ratchet up its efforts to reduce bicycle and pedestrian collisions with automobiles.

For the next 30 to 45 days, officers will be assigned strictly to traffic enforcement duties, placing an emphasis on pedestrian right-of-way and bicycle violations.

The saturation patrols will focus efforts on minors riding bicycles, scooters or skateboards without helmets, bicyclists failing to stop at red lights or stop signs, speeding motorists and those failing to yield for pedestrian right-of-ways.

The increased emphasis on pedestrian safety will be done within regularly scheduled police shifts and will not lead to any overtime costs, Sgt. Kevin Busekist said.

The announcement comes a week after 10-year-old Donald Ledford of Red Bluff died from injuries sustained following a collision with a pickup truck on Aloha Street.

A 78-year-old Red Bluff man was struck and killed in January, while walking along South Jackson Street.

Children younger than 16 who are cited during the saturation patrols will be required to attend a bicycle safety class at City Hall. Busekist said they will not be subject to a monetary fine.

The safety classes began during the early 1980s and typically run once a month. The next class is scheduled for June 27.

The class is open for children who have not been cited. Parents who want to enroll their Advertisement

children can call Busekist at 527-3131, to reserve a place.

Busekist said parents can help their children avoid collisions and citations by teaching them basic road safety, such as riding with the flow of traffic and always wearing safety helmets.

The department also has helmets available for children and parents unable to purchase their own.

The Red Bluff Police Officers Association made a donation Tuesday of $300 to purchase helmets in response the Aloha Street tragedy.

The accident struck a nerve with everyone in our department. Our association wants to do its part in keeping the children of our community safe, Association President Josiah Ferrin said.

Helmets have also been donated by the California Highway Patrol and the Tehama County Police Activities League.

Officers will begin to carry helmets with them in their patrol units to give out to needy children.

The patrols will focus on major thoroughfares in the city Main, Walnut, Oak and South Jackson streets.

Busekist said the largest factor he has seen contributing to pedestrian and bicycle problems are drivers not paying attention to pedestrians getting ready to cross the street.

Bicycle safety has always been a concern for us. We've always had these programs in effect it's just in the next 30 to 45 days we're going to put a strong emphasis on them, Busekist said.


Staff writer Rich Greene can be reached at 527-2153, extension 109 or