Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Have HART, Share the Road!

As Florida Bike Month comes to an end, we wanted to give awareness for the often overlooked neighbors on the road - pedestrians and cyclists.

2010 was a rough year for pedestrians in the Tampa Bay area.  2011 hasn't started much better.

In 2010, 492 pedestrians were killed statewide with 78 deaths in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough locally, making Florida no. 1 per capita in the United States for pedestrian deaths.  In 2008, 17.4% of fatal bike accidents reported nationwide, occurred in the state of Florida. Recently, the Top 10 list of most dangerous metro areas for pedestrians included four Florida metro areas.

Interior cards like this one were placed on all HART buses

Operating over 190 buses in Hillsborough County and logging almost 9 million miles a year on Hillsborough County roads, HART has a big interest in pedestrian/cyclist safety.  Last year, Alan Snel, a local cycling advocate, approached HART about educating HART Operators and the general public about Florida state law known as "3 Feet to Pass," which requires motor vehicle operators to give cyclists 3-feet when passing.  Last year in April, HART launched the educational campaign on all HART buses, goHART.org, and social media outlets.  Interior cards like the one shown above were placed inside all HART buses, and buses were also wrapped with similar graphics. 

Walkwise Tampa Bay is another pedestrian/cyclist safety initiative looking to educate the citizens of Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas' Counties.  The educational campaign has partnered with beach towns in Pinellas County and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to promote Pedestrian safety by introducing a new Pedestrian Flag program.

The program uses retro-reflective flags and vests on each end of a crosswalk to gain the attention of oncoming drivers.  Pedestrians carry the flag across the crosswalk.

According to FDOT, a pedestrian is injured every seven hours in Florida, with one killed every five days.  By law, bicycles are considered vehicles and cyclists are given the same rights as car drivers.  So the next time you pass a cyclist or another car on the road, please treat them equally, and give 3 feet!

Click here to view a video on the 8 weeks of training that HART Bus Operators go through before they are allowed to transport passengers.

For more information on Walkwise Tampa Bay, please visit www.walkwisetampabay.com.

1 comment:

  1. Another informative blog… Thank you for sharing it… Best of luck for further endeavor too.

    Training Tampa


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