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The Dark Knight crosses in Valencia

Caped Crusader helps SCV deputies enforce crosswalk laws

Posted: August 5, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 5, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Brett Turk, 18, a member of the Sheriff's Explorer program, dressed as Batman, crosses Magic Mountain Parkway at Valencia Boulevard during a crosswalk enforcement operation to attempt to cut down on pedestrian vs. vehicle accidents at crosswalks in the SCV on Monday. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze.

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Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Explorer Brett Turk spent most of Monday dressed as Batman. And mostly, he spent the day waiting for crosswalk “walk” signs — and then walking.

Turk was the key to a crosswalk law enforcement operation conducted by the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
And Turk appeared to be an effective caped crime-fighter: At least 12 tickets were issued in the operation’s first hour at Citrus Street and Valencia Boulevard, said Santa Clarita spokeswoman Gail Morgan.

At the Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard enforcement location, deputies ticketed drivers who made a right turn onto Magic Mountain before Turk — aka “Batman” — made it at least halfway across the crosswalk. Multiple deputy units emerged from a nearby car dealership parking lot to write the citations.

The “half-way” grace period isn’t in the law, Morgan noted, and enforcement could have been much more stringent.

The law says drivers must wait until the pedestrian crosses the street completely before they turn into the crosswalk.

“The point of today was not necessarily to cite and give tickets,” Morgan said. “It’s to reinforce the message that we all need to share the road with pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.”

The crosswalk enforcement operation was part of the Santa Clarita and Sheriff Station “Respect is a Two Way Street” safety campaign prompted by last year’s 99 incidents that involved cars colliding with either bicyclists or pedestrians citywide, Morgan said.

This year’s goal: to reduce that number.

Monday demonstrated the campaign’s enforcement stage.

“You might say you didn’t see (a pedestrian) but it’s hard to say you didn’t see ‘Batman,’” Morgan said.

“Batman” received honks, waves and smiles from passersby. And despite the toasty weather, the nearly head-to-toe suit with pointy ears, eye holes and breastplate wasn’t too hot, Turk said.

Asked what kinds of faces people made at him, Turk responded, “Definitely ones of surprise. (This) is not something you see everyday.”

But despite the costume and the comic situation, Morgan stressed the serious nature of the operation.

“I don’t think anyone wakes up thinking, ‘I’m going to hit a pedestrian,’” she said. “But as a society we’re very distracted driv(ers).”


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