RIDE Program and Pedestrian Patrol

Drivers in Cobourg are getting the message – out of 3,765 drivers checked over the period from 21st November to the end of December 2017, there were only two arrests, two suspensions, five tickets and 23 warnings.  That’s a total of 32 offenses or 0.8% of total checked.  On January 2nd, Police issued a report giving these details and said that “Cobourg Police Officers and Special Constables conducted R.I.D.E. Checks by setting up checkpoints at various Town of Cobourg roadway locations and by conducting roving R.I.D.E. checks with traffic stops.“   On January 3rd, Police said that their Select Traffic Enforcement Project (S.T.E.P.) project for January will be focused on Pedestrians – also using Police Officers and Special Constables.


One of the arrests was for impaired by drugs although the man was later released unconditionally. The man arrested failed the Standard Field Sobriety Test (SFST).  No reason was given for his release.

SFSTs consist of three different psychophysical tests: 

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test; [Follow an object with your eyes]
  • Walk and Turn Test; [walk heel and toe in a straight line]
  • One Leg Stand Test. [Stand on one leg for 30 seconds]

These tests were first used in 1970’s and are now used in Canada to detect drug impairment.  (More details here)  There are other tests allowed under the law – Canadian Criminal code reference here but the Cobourg Police seemed to do only the SFST.

This seems to be like tests used before breathalyzers were invented. I know that as you get older, balance deteriorates, so I know that I would fail such tests stone cold sober.  Try standing on one leg for 30 seconds!  And you have to wonder how an officer decides that someone is high and should do the test.  Maybe by smelling pot in the car?

The second arrest was of a 54 year old Cobourg resident.  On December 8th, he tested over 80mg/100ml so he will appear in court plus he received a 90 day instant license suspension.

The two 3 day license suspensions were for over 50mg/100ml;  the five tickets were for things like faulty headlights and expired license plates.  The 23 warnings were also for vehicle and permit infractions.

The Police also ask citizens that “if they observe an impaired driver on the road to call 911 IMMEDIATELY.”  Presumably one can spot impairment by their erratic driving.

Pedestrian Safety

The Police announcement on January 3rd said:

The Cobourg Police Service is determined to make our community roadways as safe as possible, through enforcement and education.  The Service has been enhancing our traffic patrols from March 2016 with the Select Traffic Enforcement Project (S.T.E.P.); the project is being run annually, focusing on a different topic monthly.

The January, 2018, S.T.E.P. focuses on Pedestrian Safety.  Police Officers and Special Constables from the Cobourg Police Service will be conducting enforcement around / near intersections and crosswalks.

They emphasized that Pedestrians should:

  • Dress to be seen;
  • Make sure drivers see you before you cross at traffic lights and crosswalks;
  • Avoid distraction from the use of cellphones while crossing.

They said that Drivers should:

  • Expect the unexpected from Pedestrians;
  • Slow down when approaching intersections, crosswalks and school zones; 
  • Always look for pedestrians, especially when conducting a turning movement;
  • Be patient with pedestrians crossing the roadway / street area, giving more time if needed.
Pedestrian Crossover
Pedestrian Crossover

Police listed some of the possible charges for Drivers such as “Fail to Yield to Pedestrian” and many others that apply even when there is no pedestrian involved but also listed some less known (and rarely enforced) Pedestrian offences:

  • Pedestrian Fail to Use Crosswalk (Also called jay-walking – but this is a vague term.)
  • Pedestrian Fail to Yield at Crossover (I think this one is for drivers – but then I don’t recall any crossovers in Cobourg as defined here and image at right).
  • Pedestrian Disobey “Don’t Walk” Signal

It will be refreshing to see Police give out some tickets to the many pedestrians who ignore traffic lights in Cobourg.  If they do that, the word will spread and the dangerous practice will stop.  Warnings and education by themselves will not do the job.

Additional Notice

On January 4, Cobourg Police advised that there had been some vehicles stolen because they had been left idling.

Download their announcement with advice here.

Now for something completely different

On a totally unrelated subject, if you want to know what entertainment there is in Cobourg, go to my entertainment calendar here.