Osceola County, City of Kissimmee, City of St. Cloud, their respective law enforcement agencies, MetroPlan Orlando, LYNX, Osceola County Public Schools, Florida Health Department and local safety advocates have joined forces to launch Best Foot Forward (Click for Central Florida News 13 Coverage), a grassroots pedestrian safety initiative, to reverse escalating pedestrian injuries and fatalities by changing driver behavior at pedestrian crosswalks. The official launch took place on Monday, October 30 in the Osceola County Commission Chambers in Kissimmee, FL.
Last year in Osceola County, 148 people were injured in crashes while crossing the street and 19 lost their lives, a 30 percent increase from 2014 to 2016, as reported by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Leaders across the county are working to reverse this trend.
How? By changing driver behavior at crosswalks.
THE TRIPLE E APPROACH
Best Foot Forward is a data-driven, multi-prong approach that combines education, engineering, and enforcement to get more drivers to yield, or stop, for people at crosswalks as Florida law requires. Short-term success is measured by the percentage of drivers yielding to pedestrians in marked crosswalks. The ultimate measure of success, however, will be the reduction of pedestrian deaths and injuries.
Engineering – Since the launch of Best Foot Forward in Osceola County, BFF has monitored the following crosswalks to measure the percent of drivers yielding for pedestrians. These crosswalks were selected based on a variety of factors including proximity to schools or LYNX bus stops, engineering treatment opportunities and the cross-section of road speeds.
City of Kissimmee Crosswalks
- Neptune Rd. & MLK Jr. Blvd
- Hoagland Blvd. & Hideaway Bay
- Dyer Blvd. & Kennsington Rd.
- S. Thacker Ave. & Ernest St.
- N. Thacker Ave. & Kissimmee Trl.
- Church St. & Dakin Ave.
- Broadway & Dakin Ave.
of St. Cloud Crosswalks
Osceola County Crosswalks
- Donegan Ave & Coral Ave
- Central Ave. & Hilda St.
- Florida Pkwy. & Royal Palm Dr.
- Michigan Ave. & Chris Ct.
- Koa St. & Laurel Ave.
- Simpson Rd. & Fortune Rd.
- S. Doverplum Ave. & San Remo Rd.
- 3233 Polynesian Isle Blvd. (Indian Wells Rec)
Education – Many drivers are unaware of Florida yield laws. BFF focuses on grassroots efforts to educate the community at events and speaking engagements. Our partners at the Osceola County School District are also educating parents, student drivers and staff members about the law.
BFF also promotes its message to the public through traditional and social media to educate the widest possible audience. You can view local media coverage on our YouTube channel, here. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.
The warning phase that law enforcement began in January is also a part of the education effort. The warnings being issued will prepare the community for the next phase: Enforcement.
Enforcement – Kissimmee Police Department, St. Cloud Police Department and the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office have been giving out warnings to drivers not yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks since January. On April 18th, law enforcement kicked off ticketing with their first Operation Best Foot Forward – an enforcement action where a decoy officer in plain clothes crosses the street in pre-selected marked crosswalks while radioing other officers when drivers do not yield. Those officers proceed to pull over drivers, educate them on the driver yield law and give them a warning or citation for $166 and three points on their license.
In the three-month warning phase, more than 165 warnings were issued to Osceola County drivers. During the first Operation Best Foot Forward on April 18, drivers received 78 citations and 18 warnings.
Kissimmee Police Chief Jeff O’Dell and BFF Executive Director Amanda Day go in-depth with News 13