The Sarasota Police Department has completed its High Visibility Enforcement program to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety. The City of Sarasota ranks in the top 25 cities in the state of Florida for traffic crashes resulting in serious and fatal injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists.
To protect the safety of the most vulnerable road users, the Sarasota Police Department conducted High Visibility Enforcement Details (HVE) from August 2022 until May 2023 throughout the City of Sarasota with a focus on several key roadways including:
- North Washington Boulevard (US 301) from 12th Street to 24th Street
- South Tamiami Trail (US 41) from Bahia Vista to Siesta Drive
- North Tamiami Trail (US 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. In addition to their normal patrol duties, 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. Education included:
- Improperly crossing the road,
- Failing to cross at a designated crosswalk,
- Riding in the wrong direction,
- Crossing diagonally through an intersection.
They contacted 478 pedestrians, 358 bicyclists, and four motorists. This was completed over 285 hours.
Many of their interactions with pedestrians were because of:
- No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.
- No vehicle shall pass another vehicle that is stopped at any crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross a roadway.
- Pedestrians shall yield to all vehicles on the roadway when crossing at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
- Except in a marked crosswalk, no pedestrian shall cross a roadway at any other place than by a route at right angles to the curb or by the shortest route to the opposite curb.
Sarasota Police officers also contacted drivers of motor vehicles and education was presented on speeding, sharing the road, giving the right of way to pedestrians and bicyclists, visually impaired individuals, and those individuals on mobility devices.
“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. “Safety doesn’t happen by accident. 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. The safety of our community is our number one priority,” said Officer Frank.
- 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 and results will be sent to the Florida Department of Transportation for evaluation.