Monday, March 31, 2014

Spotlight on Bike/Ped Safety--March 2014

Bike/Ped safety continues to be a front and center issue.  This post includes bike/ped fatalities in March, the FHP bike/ped safety detail event, the March law enforcement meeting, bike/ped safety education efforts, actions on bike/ped safety issues by the Florida Legislature, and the release of proposed USDOT safety performance measures. Track BikeWalkLee's Facebook page and subscribe to real-time blog emails for the latest updates on all safety developments.

Bike/Ped Fatalities Update
 We're now three months into 2014, and to date, Lee County has had 5 pedestrian fatalities  and 1 bicyclist fatality. Of those numbers, there were 4 pedestrian fatalities in March alone. Given our terrible stats for 2013 (25 pedestrian and 4 bike fatalities), we're closely watching 2014 numbers, so stay tuned. Please, everyone, be careful out there!

Below are links to media stories from March:

Local Developments

  • Florida Highway Patrol targets pedestrian and bicycle safety with special details on Wednesday at high crash areas (see March27th blog story)

Thanks to FHP, and LT Greg Bueno for leading this bike/ped safety education and enforcement detail.  The 3/26 FHP detail targeted US 41, Palm Beach Blvd., and Bayshore Road since they have the highest concentration of pedestrian and bicyclist crashes. According to Lt. Bueno's presentation to the MPO BPCC on 3/25, these details will occur once a quarter.  LMHS, SAJD, and BWL were on site to support traffic safety by handing out bike lights and other materials. As you can see from the results from the detail, it was a balanced approach, focusing on all road users--drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists; and there was good media coverage.
  • Lee County's second law enforcement bicycle and pedestrian safety initiatives meeting held on March 14th (see BWL's 3/18 blog)

On Friday, March 14th, Commissioner Pendergrass and FDOT officials convened the second meeting with local law enforcement officials from all jurisdictions as part of a dialogue about bike/ped safety and enforcement issues and  implementation of the Lee MPO Bicycle Pedestrian Safety Action Plan. 
Bike/Ped Safety Education Efforts

BikeWalkLee is using its bi-weekly column in the News-Press "Go Coastal" section to educate the public about some of the rules of the road. 
BWL Column: Plenty of room for bikers and walkers if youplay by the rules (BWL 3/20 blog post) This column featured some simple "rules of the path" for peaceful coexistence for bikers and walkers on the many path systems throughout Lee County in this busy season.
News-Press "Go Coastal" section, March 20, 2013

Actions on roadway safety by Florida Legislature:

BikeWalkLee has three safety priorities for the Florida Legislature this year: strengthen a ban on texting while driving by making it a primary offense; strengthen hit-and-run laws, and oppose efforts to raise speed limits in general. To date, no action has been taken to strengthen the texting statute, the bill to strengthen hit-and-run laws is moving forward, while the bill to raise speed limits is moving forward.  Below are reports on the 2 latter bills:
One positive development on bike/ped safety in Florida Legislature--Senate approved toughening state hit-and-run law.

Speed Limit:
The bill to raise speed limits to 75 mph on some roads moved forward in the Florida State Senate this week, despite opposition from a broad array of safety advocates, including AAA.
 I Can Drive 75…Maybe (3/27/14)

National Developments on Bike/Ped Safety

Over the past two years, BikeWalkLee has worked alongside national and local advocates across the country to urge USDOT to establish a non-motorized safety performance measure as part of the new performance measurement system required by MAP-21.  On March 11th FHWA issued the proposed performance measures without a non-motorized safety performance measure. The public has until June 9th to comment on the proposed rules, so tell USDOT we must have a national goal to make biking and walking a safe transportation option.

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