Fredericksburg residents and visitors have a special reason to be thankful for the city’s police department this week.

Officers are out looking for drivers stopping at designated crosswalks and pedestrians crossing at intersections, and randomly presenting 30 people with $5 FXBG 1728 Downtown gift cards for following Virginia law.

The effort is part of “Feet First in Fredericksburg,” a pedestrian safety campaign that Fredericksburg officials launched Monday to ensure that everyone has a safe and festive holiday week. It also includes signage to raise awareness and an education campaign on social media .

Fredericksburg VA Main Street donated the gift cards, which can be used at more than 50 shops and restaurants in the downtown district. That area is expected to get extra traffic on Small Business Saturday.

“In previous years, they’ve just handed the gift cards out at random during the holidays. This year, we’re taking a more strategic approach,” said police spokeswoman Sarah Kirkpatrick. “Hopefully, it puts in their mind that they should always be alert when walking downtown and not looking at their cellphones or being a distracted driver.”

Virginia law requires motorists to yield the right of way to any pedestrian crossing a highway at any clearly marked crosswalk. However, pedestrians are prohibited from entering or crossing an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic.

This means that both motorists and pedestrians should be alert when approaching a street crossing. Even then, pedestrians should wait to cross until it’s obvious the driver is going to stop.

“In a collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian, there are no winners, although some will lose to a greater degree than others,” said Kirkpatrick.

The Fredericksburg Police Department encourages drivers and pedestrians to remember the three Cs:

  • Caution: Drivers and pedestrians should use caution when approaching an intersection.
  • Courtesy: Drivers should be courteous to pedestrians at cross walks.
  • Common Sense: Both drivers and pedestrians should practice common sense to avoid danger.

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Cathy Jett: 540/374-5407

cjett@freelancestar.com

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