Thursday, September 25, 2014

Operation P.E.D.S. focuses on bikes, pedestrian safety

Kudos to law enforcement for its continuing bike/ped safety awareness campaign.  A special thanks to News-Press for their extensive coverage, and to BWL's Dan Moser for being part of this effort.

News-Press, Sept. 25, 2014

By Michael Braun, 

The rules of the road — and sidewalks and bike lanes — were promoted and highlighted for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists in Fort Myers Beach on Wednesday as the Florida Highway Patrol began the third quarterly wave of Operation P.E.D.S

The FHP, along with the Lee County Sheriff's Office, began handing out safety equipment and literature promoting safety as part of the Pedestrian Education and Developing Safety operation.
"We're targeting areas in Lee County where there are problems. Typical areas where there are bike and pedestrian crashes," said Lt. Greg Bueno, a spokesman for the FHP.

The FHP said the following roadways have the highest concentration of pedestrian and bicyclist crashes in Lee County: U.S. 41, Palm Beach Boulevard, Lee Boulevard, Estero Boulevard and Bayshore Road.
 Click on the article to see the video.Operation P.E.D.S. promotes bike and pedestrian safety in Fort Myers Beach. Video by Michael Braun. The majority of crashes occurred during the afternoon on Wednesdays, he said. The FHP will continue to conduct this type of pedestrian/bicycle safety detail on a quarterly basis.Bueno said that during 2013, 491 pedestrians and bicyclist were involved in crashes within Lee County. Of those, 355 were injured and 25 lost their lives. The purpose of Wednesday's detail was to decrease the amount of injuries and deaths through a series of highly concentrated education and enforcement details in areas prone to pedestrian and bicyclist involved crashes "So far in 2014 we've had 11 combined deaths. We're doing better," Bueno said. "We do this quarterly. We'll target Lehigh Acres in December."
During the operation on Wednesday, FHP and LCSO officers fanned out along Estero Boulevard stopping bicyclists and pedestrians to distribute safety gear such as bike lights and bells, backpacks, reflector bracelets and literature.

James Carickhoff of Fort Myers Beach stopped by the town hall and chatted with FHP Sgt. Duane Cooper and LCSO motorcycle officer Sgt. Dan Leffin.

"This is my lucky day," Carickhoff said. "I like getting something instead of having to pay."
Leffin lauded Carickhoff's riding capabilities as well as his safety acumen. "You're being safe, riding with the traffic," he said.

More than a dozen pedestrians and bicyclists stopped to listen to officers and accept safety items soon after the operation began around 1 p.m.

Dan Moser, a Lee County EMS and traffic safety consultant, rode his bicycle and handed out 15 bike lights and bike safety literature to help during the event.

"I love this. I look to make sure its not heavy-handed and have found it to be fair and pretty even-handed," Moser said of the FHP-LCSO effort.

Others who got the full safety treatment said they make an effort to ensure their own safety while riding.

"I'm always safe," said Will Hadden, a beach resident. " ... In Florida, many people don't know that bicyclists have to abide by vehicle laws."

Safety Tips for Pedestrians
•Use Designated Walking Areas Whenever Possible Walk on sidewalks and in crosswalks whenever possible. Pay attention to walk signals and keep a safe distance when standing on street corners.

•Be Sure to Be Seen Be careful of blind spots when walking near or around a vehicle. Assume the driver does not see you.

•Proceed with Caution when crossing intersections and streets.

•Stand Out Wear bright or reflective clothing, especially when walking in the dark. Carry a flashlight, too, for added protection.

•Look Out for Wide Loads Keep your distance when walking around large trucks carrying wide loads because the driver may not see you.

Sharing the Roadway as a Vehicle:
• Every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or bicycle.

• The driver of a vehicle at an intersection that has a traffic control signal shall stop at the marked stop line or if none before entering crosswalk.

• The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle must pass…. at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle.

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