Thursday, February 16, 2012

NBC-2 News: Deputies enforce Bonita Springs crosswalks

Kudos to the Lee County Sheriff officers in Bonita Springs--they're cracking down on drivers who don't stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.

Click here to watch the video.
NBC-2 News, 2/16/12

Lee County deputies cracked down on drivers who don't stop for pedestrians. Nine people have been hit and killed by cars in Southwest Florida this year.

Thursday, 40 people were given warnings and two were ticketed in Bonita Springs.
It's wasn't what Kristi and Randy Sipe were expecting when traveling down Old 41 in downtown Bonita Springs.

"He just turned it on as we got into the intersection so it came on right away and we didn't have time to stop," says Randy.

Randy is just one of 40 drivers given warnings Thursday for failing to yield to pedestrians when an undercover deputy goes undercover as a pedestrian.

"We're basically out here trying to educate the public about the crosswalks that are being utilized, and the new crosswalks with the lights on them," says Lee County Sheriff's Sergeant Brian Przespolewski.

Three solar powered crosswalks were installed in Bonita 7 months ago, complete with bells and led flashing lights when walkers or bikers are present.

And drivers are taking notice.

"I think that it makes the community safer," says Randy.

Before the new crosswalks, downtown off of Old 41 saw 10 pedestrians hit by cars in just 2 years. 
Since their installation there haven't been any.

"We've done a couple of operations here since, which is good, and were getting less and less violations due to the led lights here," says Przespolewski.

Outside of Downtown there are still warnings to look out for pedestrians from the Florida Department of Transportation, but they're not as bright and they're not on the crosswalks themselves, making it difficult to get across the road safely.

"A vehicle verses a person, there's not a lot of chance there," says Przespolewski.

A chance that's put to the test at Bonita Beach Road and Hickory. This part of the sting seeing as many as 5 vehicles pulled over at a time.  But the drivers aren't always at fault.

"Obviously the pedestrian can't jump out at the last second where it's not feasible to actually stop in time," says Przespolewski.

Crosswalk safety is prevention that deputies hope will stop tickets and deaths in the future.

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