Sheriff’s Office and Sarasota Police Department win FDOT grants for High Visibility Enforcement initiative targeting bicycle and pedestrian safety

Specific areas to be targeted in each jurisdiction

Both the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and the Sarasota Police Department once again have received funding for a High Visibility Enforcement (HVE) initiative for pedestrian and bicycle safety, they announced in early August.

Sarasota County ranks in the top 25 counties in Florida — and the city is among the top 25 cities in the state — for traffic crashes resulting in serious or fatal injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists, news releases point out. To protect the safety of vulnerable road users, both agencies will conduct HVE details to increase awareness of and compliance with traffic laws that protect the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists, the releases add. Enforcement efforts will focus primarily on education, the releases note. However, violations may result in warnings or citations.

For the Sheriff’s Office, these details began on Aug. 8 and will continue through May 12, 2023, “focusing on predetermined locations based on statistical crash data,” the Sheriff’s Office news release points out. These areas are as follows:

  • Stickney Point Road from Swift Road to Beneva Road.
  • Bee Ridge Road from Village Green Drive to Maceachen Boulevard, Sawyer Road to Bond Place, and Maxfield Drive to I-75.
  • Fruitville Road from Houle Avenue to Paramount Drive.
  • South Tamiami Trail from Park Place to Jacaranda Boulevard.
  • East Seminole Drive to Sunset Beach Drive, Beneva Road to North Lakepointe Boulevard, and Blackburn Point Road to East Bay Street.

For the Sarasota Police Department, the following areas will be a priority:

  • North Washington Boulevard (U.S. 301) from 12tjh 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.

Funding for the initiatives is provided through a contract with the University of North Florida, in partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation, the releases explain. The Sheriff’s Office will receive funds for overtime hours to conduct operations and special training on Florida’s bicycle and pedestrian laws, procedures, and best practices, the Sheriff’s Office release points out.

Drivers are encouraged to always obey speed limits, never drive impaired, and to watch for pedestrians and bicyclists, the releases say. “Bicyclists should obey traffic laws, ride in the direction of traffic, and use lights when riding at night,” the law enforcement agencies add. “Pedestrians are asked to cross in crosswalks or at intersections, obey pedestrian signals, and make sure they are visible to drivers when walking at night,” the releases add.