Information to be forwarded to FDOT for evaluation
The Sarasota Police Department has completed its High Visibility Enforcement program designed to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, the agency has announced.
“To protect the safety of the most vulnerable road users,” a news release explains, the Police Department conducted High Visibility Enforcement Details (HVE) from August 2022 through May throughout the city of Sarasota, the release adds.
The City of Sarasota ranks in the top 25 cities in the state of Florida for traffic crashes that result in serious and fatal injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists, the release points out.
The program focused on what the Police Department referenced as “several key roadways”:
- North Washington Boulevard (U.S. 301) from 12th Street to 24th Street.
- South Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41) from Bahia Vista to Siesta Drive.
- North Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41) from Panama Drive to Gary Drive.
- Fruitville Road from Beneva Road to Tarpon Avenue.
“These locations were not chosen by the Sarasota Police Department but were determined based on crash data involving serious bodily injury or death,” the release points out.
Along with their normal patrol duties, the release says, members of the Sarasota Police Department Traffic Unit spent an additional 285 hours educating bicyclists and pedestrians and enforcing traffic laws. “During this time, Sarasota Police officers made contact with more than 830 pedestrians and bicyclists,” the release notes.
Officers put an emphasis on educating the public about the following, the release adds:
- Improper crossing of roads.
- Failure to cross at designated crosswalks.
- Riding a bicycle in the wrong direction.
- Crossing diagonally through an intersection.
Sarasota Police officers also talked with drivers of motor vehicles to educate them about speeding, sharing the road, giving the right of way to pedestrians and bicyclists, being aware of visually impaired individuals, and watching out for individuals on mobility devices, the release says.
“We want our residents and visitors who are driving, walking, or bicycling in the City of Sarasota to remain safe when it comes to sharing our roadways,” said Sarasota Police Department Traffic Unit Officer Jason Frank in the release. “Safety doesn’t happen by accident,” he added in the release. “Even with the program being completed, we’re going to continue to educate every driver, pedestrian and bicyclist so they know and understand the rules of the road,” he said. “The safety of our community is our number one priority.”
Officers offer the following reminders to the general public:
- Drivers — Obey speed limits, never drive impaired, and always watch for pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Bicyclists — Obey traffic laws, ride in the direction of traffic, and use lights when riding at night.
- Pedestrians — Cross in crosswalks or at intersections, obey pedestrian signals, and make sure you are visible to drivers when walking at night.
All contacts with residents and visitors in the city of Sarasota will be documented, the release notes, with the results sent to the Florida Department of Transportation for evaluation.