POSTED: Friday, October 7, 2011 - 8:55am
UPDATED: Monday, October 10, 2011 - 10:11am
RANCHO VIEJO - The town of Rancho Viejo now has a new city ordinance.
Citizens walking at night can now face hundreds of dollars in fines if they aren’t carrying the proper equipment.
“The purpose is not to go and punish anybody or see how many violations we can score,” says Mayor Roberto Medrano.
The ordinance forces pedestrians to carry reflective gear or flashlights at night. According to Medrano, the goal is to prevent any accidents between motorists and walkers from happening.
“It's about the safety of the residents and so far what I see is a very good response and I have gotten some good reaction from people,” says Medrano. “So as long as people are safe I am happy with it.”
A grace period has been in effect since the law passed on August ninth. Police have been issuing warnings to violators, but once the grace period ends the fines could reach five-hundred-dollars.
Rancho Viejo Alderman Bobby Lackner voted against the ordinance.
“I think it is stupid,” says Lackner. “We don't have a real good grasp of government out there and we are over doing things.”
Lackner feels as though the ordinance is an abuse of power from the local government.
“What we have in Rancho Viejo is too much government,” says Lackner. “Sometimes less government is better government.”
Lackner may have a point in voting against the ordinance. Mayor Medrano described the ordinance as a “safety measure” for citizens, but the city has no records of any accidents every happening between motorists and pedestrians.
“It is basically a threat is what it is because if you really want to help the walkers in Rancho Viejo you need to emphasize more lighting,” says Lackner. “I think more than anything it is just a way to garner more money into the system.”
According to Medrano, there is no time table set for when the grace period ends and harsher fines will begin.