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San Mateo, CA Police Department
Thursday February 1st, 2018 :: 04:14 p.m. PST


Caltrans Activates Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons on S. El Camino Real for Pedestrian Safety

We were just notified that Caltrans activated several pedestrian hybrid beacons on S. El Camino Real throughout the county and one specifically at the intersection of 22nd Ave and S. El Camino Real in San Mateo.  A pedestrian hybrid beacon is a special type of beacon used to warn and control traffic at an unsignalized location to assist pedestrians in crossing a street or highway at a marked crosswalk. According to Caltrans, pedestrian hybrid beacons lead to a 69% decrease in accidents involving pedestrians.  Hooray Ped Safety!  We still encourage pedestrians to be aware of their surroundings, look both ways before crossing an intersection, and make eye contact with drivers.
So, how does a pedestrian hybrid beacon crosswalk work?  The pedestrian hybrid beacon signal starts dark.  Traffic is free to move until a pedestrian presses the button to cross.  When the pedestrian activates the signal, approaching cars will see a flashing yellow light.  The signal will change to a solid yellow, indicating that drivers must slow down and prepare to stop.  The signal will then change to a double, solid red, indicating to drivers that they must stop.  The pedestrian will then be allowed to cross the street.  When the signal begins flashing with alternating red lights, all vehicles must come to a complete stop, but may proceed if there are no pedestrians in the crosswalk.  See attached images for details.
Enforcement can occur when a driver fails to come to a stop for a solid red light (CVC 21453(a)) or if a driver fails to stop for the alternating red lights (CVC 21457(a)).  There is no violation if once the red lights begin alternating and a driver comes to a complete stop and then proceeds through the intersection when it is safe to do so.  Treat flashing/alternating red lights like a stop sign.

For questions about the hybrid beacons, implementation process, and public notification you can call Caltrans at General Information Line: (916) 654-2852 or their website: 
For more information on the Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon follow the below links:

San Mateo, CA Police Department
200 Franklin Pkwy
San Mateo, CA 94403

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 650-522-7700

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