SBPD Issued 9 Citations During Traffic Safety Sting

By the Santa Barbara Police Department

To promote the safety of people walking and bicycling, the Santa Barbara Police Department conducted a traffic enforcement detail on September 6, 2023. This detail focused on unsafe drivers that pose a risk to those walking or riding a bicycle. Officers conducted a total of 15 traffic stops that resulted in 9 citations. 

To further promote road safety, the Santa Barbara Police Department will conduct two additional pedestrian and bicycle safety details on September 13 and September 20, 2023. The officers will be focusing on the most dangerous driver behaviors that put the safety of pedestrians at risk. These violations include speeding, making illegal turns, failing to yield, and running stop signs/signals.  

In addition to the pedestrian and bicycle safety enforcement details, SBPD will conduct general traffic safety enforcement from September 11, 2023, to September 23, 2023. These officers will be working in potential high-risk areas that could be prone to traffic collisions. These might include school zones, construction zones, and stop sign intersections. 

SBPD offers safe driving and walking tips, including staying off the phone when behind the wheel or walking. Other tips include:


  • Do not speed, and slow down at intersections. Be prepared to stop for pedestrians at marked and unmarked crosswalks.
  • Avoid blocking crosswalks while waiting to make a right-hand turn.
  • Never drive impaired.



  • Be predictable. Use signalized crosswalks where drivers may anticipate foot traffic. 
  • Watch for approaching vehicles and practice due care crossing the street. At 30 mph, a driver needs at least 90 feet to stop.
  • Wear light colors and reflective material, and use a flashlight to make it easier for drivers to see you at night.
  • Be careful crossing streets or entering crosswalks at night or on busier roads with higher speed limits. 


Funding for all the programs mentioned above is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


Written by SBPDPIO

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  1. Well, after three years of doing absolutely nothing as far as traffic enforcement, they finally found the time and staff to do something. Yay.
    But let’s look at the on-the-street reality. Pick a signaled intersection. Any intersection. How many cars run through red lights, fail to stop before making a right turn on red, or nearly run over a pedestrian in a crosswalk? Let’s say that number is, for the sake of discussion, fifty per hour. Count only daylight hours, Now, times 100 signals (hint: it’s more than that). That’s a staggering 60,000 violations per day. (At one intersection nearby at least two or three cars run through the red light and three make illegal turns at each and every change of the light. So this number is not unreasonable.)
    And the SBPD found 15 and issued 9 citations.

    • per state law, bicycles can and will be allowed to do California stops at signs and lights WHEN safe.
      While you’re crying about all of the bikes in town, let’s focus on the drivers since this is about drivers of automobiles. I see drivers, all day, every day, run through stops, blow through cross walks with people in them. In fact my daughter and myself and my service dog at Castillo/Cliff crossing in the crosswalk, with a green light, with a walk signal and almost got hit by TWO cars speeding up to SBCC. “Waitcho Turn!” is what i was told. Yeah. You wanted to complain about bikes, yet bikes would stay in the bike lanes IF pedestrians stopped being self entitled and renaming them as mixed use paths and leave them as they were designed for, bike paths. You have a side walk, 5 feet away from our bike path. We can’t bike on the side walk, yet you want to walk on our bike path? Got it.

    • um wrong. Red light, doesn’t mean go even if you’re still in the middle of the intersection. You’re technically not suppose to pass the limit line until you have a safe way to turn. So no, pushing yourself into the middle of an intersection will get you a red light ticket. I’ve been nailed as have many others.

    • No, but I did this afternoon shoot video at La Cumbre and State. Three consecutive changes of the light over a 5-minute time frame. I’ve sent in still shots and the videos, perhaps they will be posted. The videos are to address anyone who brings up the “but the light was yellow when the vehicle entered the intersection.” It was unquestionably solid red. In any event, it is NOT legal to speed through an intersection on yellow in an attempt to beat the red. Here’s from the CA MV Handbook: Solid Yellow Light
      “A yellow traffic signal light means CAUTION. The light is about to turn red. When you see a yellow traffic signal light, STOP, if you can do so safely. If you cannot stop safely, cautiously cross the intersection.” But that’s not the point.
      The point is that at 2 o’clock this afternoon, in 5 minutes, 10 vehicles purposefully ran through an already red light, 5 additional did so just as it turned red. Let’s say that is an anomaly (it is not) and it happens just 5 times a day (it’s way more than that) and let’s do the math. That’s 1,500 violations PER MONTH for that ONE intersection and approximately half a million dollars in lost fine-related revenue.
      So no, I am not overestimating, am I?

    • I just find it hard to believe that 10 cars drove through red light at that intersection in 5 minutes. I’ve RARELY seen a car proceed through a red light that has been red before entering any intersection, much less doing so “at a reasonably safe slow speed.”
      So, they approach the intersection at La Cumbre and State and just drive through the red lights slowly? Like they look both ways and then just roll through? I’ve never seen anyone drive slowly at any time through that extremely busy intersection. Just seems a lot.

    • huh? Ginger, they do this every week in different places in town where its needed. They have been doing this for a very very long time. This isn’t new. I know all of this is fact as I have close friends that are the citation givers…it just may not be advertised, or be in your driving area, but it happens a lot. I watched them in my neighborhood near SBCC cite 35 vehicles in a three block area for a full week.

    • “At one intersection nearby at least two or three cars run through the red light and three make illegal turns at each and every change of the light” – Which intersection?
      I drive daily through Goleta and a few times a week downtown in SB. I RARELY (as in maybe once a month) see a car drive through a red light, except maybe racing through a yellow and catching the first second of a red. I keep hearing about all these cars blasting through red lights, but I just don’t see them. I DO see, at least once per multiple daily drives, bicyclists drive through, without even slowing down, red lights and stop signs.

    • 9:38 – yes, thanks for pointing that out. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw a car fully run a red light. Many cyclists say they do this regularly. I’ve seen plenty of “California rolls” where a car doesn’t come to a complete stop at a stop sign, but that’s nothing like driving through an intersection with a red light or stop sign without slowing down.
      I wonder how many of the 15 stops and 9 citations were for cyclists vs drivers?

    • It was five friggin’ minutes on the way back to my car across the street from the UPS Store. Not a big deal. And yes, those 15 cars slowly, purposefully rolled through the yellow, and 10 of them ultimately, the already red traffic signal. (There were one or two who accelerated on their way through the intersection.) Sorry you find it difficult to believe. Perhaps the videos will be made available.

    • SACJON, as long as any part of your vehicle has entered the intersection before it turns red, it is a legal crossing. So even if just your front bumper is in the intersection when it goes red, that still does not count as running the red (legally).
      One thing I’m thankful for in our town is the inclusion of “dead time” where all lights are red for 1 second between direction changes, at least at major intersections. That is NOT the case in most places, and it is much more dangerous without the programmed dead time. Thank you for that, SB traffic engineers.

    • I might have been focused on cars, but surely bicycles are equally to blame. This morning I witnessed two “kids” riding their RadPower bikes the wrong direction in the bike lane and I’ve seen the lycra-clad roadies crowd zip through red lights all the time. Sometimes as a group of riders. Not a good presentation, is it?
      If everyone, car drivers and bicycle riders would just slow down, pay attention and show some courtesy and responsibility toward others we wouldn’t be having this discussion. There’s no value in going an extra 5 mph faster—you won’t get to where you are going any sooner. There’s no value to running a red light because you’re likely going to have to stop at the next one anyway.

    • Sorry if I was not clear enough for you. Allow me to try yet again:
      5 vehicles proceeded through a yellow light when they could have stopped. That’s not the problem. It’s the 10 vehicles that *illegally entered the intersection after the light was already red* and in some cases, as other vehicles were legally moving through their green light. Some had to wait for the illegal red light runner to finish progressing through the intersection to avoid a collision.
      Only one or two of those red light runners actually purposefully accelerated trying to “beat the light” or to avoid collision. It was mostly “slow speed stupidity and arrogance”.
      And it’s not just cars and trucks. There was a bicyclist riding westbound in the eastbound lane (the wrong direction) on State St, approached the intersection, turned to make a right turn and rode across using the crosswalk, blocking a vehicle from proceeding through their green light. Sorry, you can’t make this stuff up. Happens all the time, all day long. All over town.

    • GINGER – OK, so 10 vehicles saw the red light and went through anyways. That’s what it sounded like you said from the get go. Trying to beat the red light is one thing, but that’s usually a faster situation, as oppose to careful and slow. That’s why I was asking. OK, well, I think videos would be important to see. I go through that intersection at least 2x a day and yeah, I’ve seen people try to miss a red by speeding up during a yellow, but not once have I seen anyone with a red light, slowly and cautiously try to drive against green traffic in a deliberate attempt to run a red light. Hard to believe, but not saying you’re making it up. Just very, very hard to believe.

    • GINGER – the reason for my disbelief is really based in how often I see cyclists go through red light and stop signs without even slowing down. Luckily for them, most drivers have come to accept this and will slam their breaks, putting others in danger, so these cyclists can continue on their way, ignoring all traffic laws while demanding everyone else obeys them. The usual retort from many here is, “cars do it more!” Well, if cars were blowing through intersections without slowing down or just pulling into on coming traffic, we’d be hearing DAILY about multiple chaotic intersection collisions.

  2. Fear not. Big Brother has a plan
    LA is back looking at traffic cams. For every intersection on major streets. You could conceivably get multiple tickets a day. Does LA care about safety, or are they looking at the giant pot of revenue?
    Answer is both, but mostly the enormous potential for revenue. They plan to start with red light cameras again but want to branch out to every type of violation including touching solid white lines, tracking of speed between cameras etc. People who think they are good, lawful drivers are in for a shock when the monthly bill comes. The good news is this will incentivize autonomous vehicles.
    There is a town in Texas called Coffee City with 278 residents, which made up 84 households. The police force wrote $1,000,000 in citations.

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