Check out WMFE’s Intersections: WFME’s Matthew Peddie hosted a roundtable discussion on our pedestrian safety issues and challenges on 3/25-26. The panel included BFF project director Amanda Day, OPD’s Sgt. Richard Ruth, Ella Shanks from Orange County Public Schools and Von Fusco, a local young man who survived a horrible pedestrian crash last year and has now become a pedestrian safety advocate.
The Best Foot Forward partners gathered around the table with WMFE’s Intersections host Peddie to talk about the challenges and solutions underway to make our streets safer. OCPS spoke of their efforts to educate students, specifically through the WalkSafe curriculum: a three-day course that includes classroom instruction, physical education activity and art class. OPD shared details of how enforcing the yield laws are showing results. Amanda Day discussed how the “Triple E” efforts of combined Education, Enforcement and Engineering is starting to make a difference as awareness grows. Of course the most impactful part of the radio program was Von Fusco. Von was hit by a car crossing Colonial Drive in 2012, survived and managed to graduate from high school in time in spring of 2013. He is now a BFF volunteer and advocate.
Labor Day in 2012, Von Fusco, a high school student in Central Florida, stepped off of a Lynx bus at Colonial Drive and Rouse Rd and attempted to cross Colonial Drive. Instead of walking to the nearest signalized crosswalk, they thought it would be faster and easier to cross at the stop. They noted the stoplight was red when they got off the bus. They walked in front of the LYNX bus and as the boys stepped into the street, the light changed to green. What happened next would change their lives forever.
Von has joined Best Foot Forward’s Volunteer Advisory Team to help spread the message of pedestrian safety, and advocate for better pedestrian infrastructure. He wants to speak to schools and youth about his experience. If you would like for him to share his story with your group, contact Joan Carragher at [email protected]