District 2 County Commissioner Bryan Nelson recently went undercover with Orange County Sheriff officers and witnessed drivers not yielding at crosswalks.
There were 640 reported pedestrian-relates accidents in Orange County in 2014, which was a 26.2% increase from 2010. Of those accidents 596 pedestrians were injured and 44 pedestrians died according to a Signal Four Database study.
Best Foot Forward for Pedestrian Safety (BFF), was formed by a coalition of civic leaders, public safety officials, engineers, educators, transportation planners, advocates and concerned citizens. BFF operates under Bike/Walk Central Florida, which is chaired by former Orange County Mayor Linda Chapin, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.
BFF focuses on three main goals:
According to Florida law, drivers must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks even if there aren’t any pavement markings at the crossing. Also, turning vehicles are to yield to pedestrians crossing on a green light or with the WALK signal. Any driver who fails to yield will face a $164 fine as well as three points on their driver’s license.
In Central Florida at least two pedestrians are injured daily and one is killed every week reported in a Dangerous by Design study, 2014. Since BFFs inception in 2012, the number of drivers who yield to pedestrians has increased from 17% to 59% on roads 35 mph or less. And on roads 40 mph or higher the average has increased from 2% to 21%.
So far 2,187 citations have been issued out to motorists through the enforcement of BFF better known as Operation BFF. Operation BFF occurs when officers across Central Florida set up operations throughout the region to stop drivers who refuse to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. This operation helps educate drivers about the importance of yielding with either a stern warning or a $164 ticket. You never know the very same driver that didn’t stop today may be the one crossing at the crosswalk tomorrow.
Best Foot Forward has created a team with The Center for Education and Research in Safety (CERS), the City of Orlando and Orange County engineers to enhance our crosswalks and roads, making them safer for pedestrians to cross and improving crosswalk visibility. This team has suggested and implemented enhancements such as, increased signage or repaved crosswalks. Further enhancements include;
Here are some tips to remember:
Accidents can simply be avoided by exercising caution.
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