The number of fines for motorists’ neglecting ‘pedestrian rights’ in West Yorkshire has fallen from almost 600 to less than 200 a year.
These offences include stopping within the limits of a zebra, pelican or puffin crossing, not giving way to pedestrians once they have shown they are about to cross or driving on the pavement.
Last year West Yorkshire officers issued 176 fines for neglecting pedestrian rights, 69% less than 2011 when police issued 569 fines, analysis of Home Office figures shows.
Among the 174 fines issued in 2016 by the police force, two were cancelled and 22 were paid while four led to court action.
In October 2015 the Examiner reported on how Sarah Palmer said motorists were regularly failing to stop at a zebra crossing in Deighton Road – even when people are on it.
She said: “I go along that road at least three times a day and nine times out of 10 cars just fly over the crossing. Drivers must think that if someone is halfway across it’s OK to go.”
Across England and Wales the number of fines for neglecting pedestrians rights is has more than halved from 10,408 in 2011 to 4,715 in 2016.
The biggest drop was in the Suffolk police force area with 94.3% fewer fines over the five-year period from 53 to just three.
However, according to Steve Chambers, Policy and Research Co-ordinator of Living Streets, a charity promoting walking across cities, this decrease is likely a reflection of less enforcement than improving attitudes to pedestrians’ rights.
He said: “The statistics for deaths and serious injuries over the same period show no improvement and do not reflect the decreasing number of fines so it’s likely that the reduction in fines is actually a result of less enforcement rather than an improvement.”
Across Great Britain there were 22,346 pedestrians involved in accidents and 453 died in 2011 while in 2016 23,102 pedestrians were involved in accidents and 448 of them were killed.
Mr Chambers added: “Our supporters from all over the country tell us the police are not enforcing the rules intended to secure the safety of people walking. Vehicles parked on the pavement, blocking the footway and forcing people to walk in the street are one example of the kinds of rules that simply aren’t being enforced.”
A National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman said: “All police forces are committed to reducing the harm on the roads by ensuring offenders face tough penalties when they break the law. While there are fewer officers available, many forces now enter into local and regional partnerships to gather intelligence that helps to better target enforcement, such as information about repeat offenders or local areas where particular offences are more common.”