For more than 10 years, the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization has highlighted pedestrian safety when daylight saving time ends in the fall each year. The Pedestrian Safety Awareness Week continues through Monday, Nov. 4.
The MPO has partnered with the Pinellas District Schools and developed a pedestrian safety awareness campaign to remind pedestrians and motorists of safety measures and to promote safety for pedestrians at all intersection crosswalks throughout Pinellas County, recognizing that pedestrians have the legal right-of-way within crosswalks.
In 2012, more than 4,500 pedestrians were killed across the U.S. Of the nearly 475 pedestrian fatalities that occurred in Florida, 34 occurred right here in Pinellas County. To raise awareness of the need for pedestrian safety and education, the MPO reminds all motorists, pedestrians and other roadway users to be aware of their surroundings, be extra cautious at intersection and mid-block crosswalks, and remember that pedestrians have the legal right-of-way within crosswalks.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than twice as many children are killed in pedestrian-vehicle incidents on Halloween between 4 and 10 p.m. as compared to the same hours on other days during the year. In light of these statistics, the MPO has expanded its Pedestrian Safety Awareness campaign to include the last week of October due to both the time change and the occurrence of Halloween.
As part of this safety project, 112,000 pedestrian safety brochures targeting students and their families have been provided to the Pinellas County public schools for every student. The same information will be distributed to all private schools, libraries, senior centers, county and city agencies. This simple but direct safety information was developed to emphasize safety for all modes of transportation. Although this material targets school students, the safety information is beneficial for pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicle drivers of all ages. The brochure can be viewed at www.pinellascounty.org/MPO/bikeped/PedBrochure.pdf.
Pedestrian Safety Awareness also provides an opportunity for local jurisdictions and law enforcement agencies to utilize the developed safety messages to stress pedestrian safety and education through the electronic social media outlets available to them.