Efforts to increase pedestrian and bicycle safety
By Gabriella Mercurio,2023-06-06
Some walkers and bikers in Tallahassee say they are nervous to share the road with drivers.
"I've almost got hit and killed twice on my bike by just biking and someone running a red light," said bicyclist Shelby Green.
Now, a renewed program with the Tallahassee Police Department and a local non-profit are doing their parts in educating more people to make traveling around the capitol city safer.
Shelby Green rides her bike around Tallahassee a few times a week.
"Getting on a bike is a really fun thing to do," said Green. "It's so nice to be able to like bike down FAMU Way or bike to the grocery store or bike to the coffee shop, but we cannot do those things if there's barriers in place like safety."
According to TPD, there were 77 pedestrians and 35 bicyclists traffic crashes citywide over the last six months. Tallahassee is one of the top 15 cities in the state for traffic crashes resulting in serious or fatal injuries for pedestrians and bicyclists.
According to TPD, eight pedestrians and one bicyclists died last year due to those traffic crashes. So far, four pedestrians and one bicyclist have died this year.
Green has started a project called Vision Zero, which is a database of all those traffic crashes in the capitol city.
"We're hoping that this project encourages people to talk about biking, being in your car, pedestrian traffic safety and also give people a place to share their concerns and frustrations and hopefully turn it into action," said Green.
Action of adding more crosswalks, better signage and improving road infrastructure.
Another actionable step, TPD's renewing their High Visibility Enforcement, or HVE, detail that focuses on educating motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.
Although the detail ended in May, Detective Jim Harris said the program will start up again this fall, allowing him to inform more people in pre-determined areas that have been identified as having a high number of traffic crashes.
"We're making a lot of contacts with people, but there's not a whole lot of tickets being written," said Harris. "Lots of information and education being done to again try and minimize those interactions between vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists."
Cassie McGlynn is also working to help educate cyclists. She's the director of Bicycle House, a non-profit providing bikes to people in the community and offering free, ride safety education to help people feel more confident cycling on the roads.
"We make routes and we have a big TV that we can put a google map on and show people the heat maps on where people ride their bikes in town and what are the safer routes," said McGlynn.
Green believes education is the first step in making a difference.
"Make sure people know we have cyclists here we have bikers here, please be aware of people," said Green.
Detective Harris believes the new HVE detail in the fall will still include a majority of the areas they patrolled last time, with the exception of expanding their detail along more of Apalachee Parkway.