By Kellie Woods, BWCF/BFF intern
Having lived in Orlando for close to three years now, I have always just assumed that defensive driving was the rule of the road. Now, after witnessing Operation Best Foot Forward with Best Foot Forward, I have a whole new perspective on pedestrians’ safety and watching the road.
When it comes to driving in Orlando, I have come to the realization that everyone is only looking out for themselves. This mentality doesn’t seem to waiver when it comes to yielding for pedestrians. I had never really noticed that Orlando had such a big issue with yielding until watching police officers walk across the designated crosswalks while cars just zoomed by. It seemed to be that as long as you weren’t going to directly hit the pedestrian, you could just slowly roll on through the crosswalk. No need to stop as long as you wouldn’t hit them, right? Well, not exactly.
After watching lines of cars receive citations for failing to yield to the pedestrians, I have a fresh perspective on what it means to yield for people crossing the street.
It seems as though the solution to Orlando’s issue with pedestrian safety is a simple one: Educate and enforce citizens on yielding for pedestrians. However, this is a lot easier said than done. Motorists are set in their driving habits and it is that behavior. Enforcement seems to be the best way to change these reckless habits. Best Foot Forward is working to educate drivers in Orlando about the laws
Some quick observations I noticed:
- Drivers are seem to be clueless that they are to completely stop for a pedestrian.
- Either drivers are unaware of the law or they feel there is no repercussion for just idling through the crosswalk.
- Where there were no signals for the pedestrians, drivers were a lot less likely to yield.
- When making a right turn, many times drivers don’t check to see if a pedestrian is crossing the road. Instead they are only checking for oncoming traffic.