What part of ‘no’…?

Careless traffic behavior poses threat to public safety: Chief

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette While the approach to the bridge from Ripley is clearly marked as prohibiting traffic from making left-hand turns onto the bridge, the Hancock Police are still citing motorists for ignoring signs.

HANCOCK — The Hancock police chief says there seems to be a marked increase in careless traffic-related activity and violations throughout the city this summer — and not just from motorists, and just in and around the construction zones.

Chief Wayne Butler said violators include motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Violations include motorists treating stop signs as yield signs, high rates of speed on North Lincoln Drive, speeding on Campus Drive near within the hospital zone, bicyclists ignoring bike lanes to ride on sidewalks and veering through congested traffic, and pedestrians crossing streets wherever it is convenient for them.

His department wants to deliver a message to the public:

“What I’d like to get out, so the public is aware,” Butler said, “is we’re increasing our traffic enforcement. We’re doing it in order to prevent accidents, and to keep construction workers, the equipment, and everyone safe.”

Butler said his department is seeing an increase in citations for speeding, running stop signs, and pedestrians causing risks by “crossing (roads) wherever they feel like it, especially right after the city invested all that money in bump-outs.”

Butler said his officers have encountered motorists illegally making left-hand turns where they are banned in and around the construction zone on Front Street, where the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has installed clearly marked detours and signs.

“When they encounter detour signs — and there is signage out there — follow it,” Butler advised. “It’s not anything that we’ve made up ourselves. It comes from MDOT, or it comes through the construction companies, so people know how to safely maneuver through the construction zone.”

Bicyclists, too, sometimes make themselves traffic hazards, according to Butler, particularly on Hancock Street, where traffic back-ups can extend for nearly a mile.

“We have a bicycle lane there,” Butler said, “yet we still continue to have bicycles on the sidewalk, and they aren’t using the bike lane, and if they are on Hancock Street a lot of times they, because of the traffic being backed up now, are overriding the fact of being in traffic and passing vehicles, which puts them in danger.”

Butler said that while his officers are issuing far more warnings than citations, citations are in fact being issued.

“I’d rather be proactive now and be preventative,” Butler said, “than have to write people tickets after they have accidents or crashes, or after they’ve hurt somebody.”