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MIPD Officer Rob Jira answers your questions
Mercer Island Police Officer Rob Jira answers frequently asked questions from Mercer Island residents.
If I am driving and I see an emergency vehicle (a police car, an ambulance or a fire engine) with their emergency lights flashing headed towards my car, what should I do?
The first thing you should do is slow down. Then safely pull your vehicle over to the right shoulder of the roadway. Emergency vehicles will pass you on your vehicle’s left side. Do not pull into a middle turn lane or to the left side of the roadway, regardless of how close you are to your final destination, as this can cause an accident with those emergency vehicles.
When driving on a multiple-lane road, is the far left lane considered a passing lane for faster traveling cars?
Yes. Slower moving vehicles should always use the far right lane of the roadway to travel so that traffic does not become congested and faster moving vehicles can use the other lanes to pass slower cars, maintaining the productive flow of traffic.
Does the Mercer Island Police Department have a ticket quota?
No. We can now put this long-standing myth to bed; the Mercer Island Police Department does not have a quota. The police department does not financially benefit from the citations they issue. The money generated from the citations issued goes directly into the City of Mercer Island’s general purpose fund and to the state of Washington.
Can you get a DUI while riding intoxicated on a bicycle?
No. Though I would highly recommend against riding a bicycle while under the influence of any substance, as long as the bicycle is not under the power of any motor, it does not fit into the DUI statute as operating a motor vehicle. Besides, if you crash into something, then you have to pay for it, you get injured, and we (the police) have to show up and do a lot of paperwork. It’s really a lose-lose situation for everyone.
What is this “road diet” project that I have been reading about on Island Crest Way?
The City of Mercer Island has already begun its 2012 phase of the “road diet” project. The city will be taking the four lanes of Island Crest Way between S.E. 40th Street and S.E. 53rd Street and resizing it to a three-lane road (one northbound lane and one southbound lane with a middle left turn lane). Engineers have stated that the resizing of the roadway will not significantly add congestion for traffic along Island Crest Way. The resizing will also make it safer for residents pulling out of their driveways onto Island Crest Way, and make left turns easier along Island Crest Way without stopping the flow of traffic. The city has already begun this project and is slated to have it completed in 2014.
Have a question for Officer Jira? Write to him at Rob.Jira@mercergov.org.