One year ago, Bishop Police Chief Kathleen Sheehan pushed an effort to reduce traffic accidents in the City of Bishop. 2008 has come and gone. While there were two bad accidents on Main Street, overall the number of wrecks in Bishop has dropped.
In 2007, Chief Sheehan reports there were 68 collisions. 8 people suffered minor injuries, while 2 people suffered major injuries. In 2008 the number of accidents dropped to 60, or 11.7% according to the Chief. Of the 60 accidents in 2008, ten people suffered minor injuries. Three people were listed with major injuries.
In March, a pedestrian was hit while crossing Main Street near Giggle Springs. The man suffered major injuries. In April, another man was struck in a crosswalk at Yaney Street and suffered major injuries. The driver in that accident was arrested for driving under the influence.
There was also one fatal car accident in July when a driver suffered a heart attack at Main and Line. The driver died of the heart attack, but did hit another car which led to minor injuries.
Besides a possible dose of good luck, Chief Sheehan says that education, enforcement, and engineering are the three ways to reduce traffic accidents. Getting the word out on crosswalk sting operations and back to school days helps with the education, she says.
Enforcement means tickets and warnings. Crosswalk violations, vehicle stops for failure to use a turn signal and unsafe lane changes are part of the effort.
From the engineering side of the equation, Chief Sheehan explained that the city worked with Caltrans to increase visibility for drivers near Northern Inyo Hospital by eliminating some parking places on West Line Street and Pioneer Lane.
Accidents will always happen, but the numbers did drop in 2008. Chief Sheehan says that so far the effort to reduce accidents seems to have worked.