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ORLANDO, Fla. (Jul. 21, 2020) – The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, Orlando Police Department and Longwood Police Department are conducting Operation Best Foot Forward, a high-visibility crosswalk enforcement operation, at seven crosswalks on Tuesday, July 21.
The downward trend in pedestrian injuries and deaths is beginning to reverse as more drivers get on the road and stay-at-home advisories are relaxed. This is evident when comparing pre-COVID 19 statistics from 2019, to those in 2020 over the same period in Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties. After three months of dramatic decreases in the number of pedestrian injuries and deaths, the numbers are beginning to backslide toward 2019 levels, specifically when comparing June 2019 to June 2020.
Source: Florida Signal Four Analytics is an interactive, web-based system designed to support the crash mapping and analysis needs of law enforcement, traffic engineering, transportation planning agencies, and research institutions in the state of Florida.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS:
In March, April and May, traffic levels were lower during stay-at-home advisories and restrictions. More people were observed walking and biking during this time. The numbers also show 85 fewer people were hurt or killed in pedestrian crashes when comparing March-June 2019 to 2020. This was a positive trend. However, the June trend is concerning. As COVID-19 advisories and restrictions are lifted or modified and more people resume driving, it may provide the recipe for increased injuries and deaths for those who choose to walk and navigate crosswalks. During this transition time, there is more of a mix of transportation users walking, biking, and driving. It is vital for drivers to stay alert, share space, and always yield and stop for people in crosswalks.
HOW ENFORCEMENT IS CONDUCTED:
During Operation Best Foot Forward, a plainclothes officer legally crosses the street in a marked crosswalk, making sure to give drivers enough time to safely slow, and stop for him. If drivers don’t stop, as Florida law requires, officers in full uniform, will pull over the driver. A citation for Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian in a Crosswalk will cost offenders a minimum of $164 and three points on their driver’s license.
WHERE AND WHEN:
Osceola County Sheriff’s Office
- Buenaventura Blvd. & Briarwood Dr. (8:45-9:30 am)
- Donegan Ave. & Coral Ave. (10:00-10:45 am)
- 3200 Rolling Oaks Blvd. (11:45 am – 12:30 pm)
Orlando Police Department
Longwood Police Department
Media is invited to Operation Best Foot Forward and will have the opportunity to speak to drivers, police officers and pedestrians. Contact Amanda Day at 407-716-8221.
Best Foot Forward for Pedestrian Safety: An Evidence-Based Program
According to the Dangerous by Design report, the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford MSA has consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous regions in the nation for pedestrian deaths and injuries for the last 10 years. In 2019, 988 people were struck and 91 were killed while doing something as simple and necessary as crossing the street, according to the most recent data.
The Best Foot Forward pedestrian safety campaign was launched to reverse this trend by focusing on one specific behavior change – increase driving yielding behavior at crosswalks as Florida law requires. More than a campaign, Best Foot Forward is a behavior change-based program designed to improve road safety through consistent and persistent education, high-visibility crosswalk enforcement and low-cost engineering at marked crosswalks in close proximity to elementary schools and LYNX bus stops, in urban areas and cross-sections of low and high-speed roads. Best Foot Forward tracks driver yielding behavior at crosswalks across its three counties: Orange, Osceola and Seminole. The data shows that application of the triple-E method consistently makes crosswalks safer for people.
Best Foot Forward Progress (2012-2019)
- More than 9,000 citations and warnings issued in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties.
- 126 crosswalks enforced by law enforcement.
Florida’s Traffic Safety – Driver Yield Laws
- Drivers must yield to pedestrians at an intersection, even if there are no pavement markings or signs indicating a crosswalk.
- Drivers may not pass cars stopped at a crosswalk. Passing at a crosswalk is a major cause of pedestrian injuries.
- Turning vehicles must yield to pedestrians crossing on a green light or with a WALK signal.
- Drivers must come to a complete stop at crosswalks with signs indicating that a full stop is required.
About Best Foot Forward
The Best Foot Forward pedestrian safety campaign is administered by the local non-profit Bike/Walk Central Florida and first launched in Orange County and the City of Orlando in 2012. It expanded to Osceola County, Kissimmee and St. Cloud in 2017 and Seminole County, including six cities in October 2019. Best Foot Forward is now the largest grassroots coalition in the country, working for pedestrian safety.
Best Foot Forward: Orange, Osceola and Seminole County Coalition Partners
Initiated and administered by Bike/Walk Central Florida, the Best Foot Forward coalition includes:
City of Orlando and Orlando Police Department, City of Kissimmee and Kissimmee Police Department, City of St. Cloud and St. Cloud Police Department, Orange County Government, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Orange County Public Schools, Osceola County Government, Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, Osceola County Public Schools, Orlando Health, Seminole County Government, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, Seminole County Public Schools, Seminole Crossing Guards, City of Altamonte Springs and Altamonte Springs Police Department, City of Casselberry and Casselberry Police Department, City of Longwood and Longwood Police Department, City of Oviedo and Oviedo Police Department, City of Sanford and Sanford Police Department, City of Winter Springs and Winter Springs Police Department, Lynx, MetroPlan Orlando, Florida Department of Health, and the Florida Department of Transportation.
To learn more, visit www.iyield4peds.org.