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Insight Magazine: Best Foot Forward in East Orange County

Best Foot Forward is making an impact throughout Orlando and Orange County. Read the Insight Magazine article below to see the impact BFF  is having on the east side of town.

Commissioner Thompson photo

Trying to cross the street in East Orange County can quickly turn into a highstakes game of Frogger. Too often, drivers fail to yield to pedestrians at our local crosswalks resulting in unusually high numbers of injuries or deaths of residents. Orange County District 4 Commissioner Jennifer Thompson and the Sheriff’s Office are actively making our streets safer at crosswalks with the support of Best Foot Forward (BFF).

Earlier this month at the intersection of Woodbury Road and Mallory Circle, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) conducted its first 2016 crosswalk crackdown in what is called Operation Best Foot Forward.  Undercover officers in plain clothing crossed the street at the crosswalk, giving drivers enough time to yield. If a driver failed to yield, a uniformed officer pulled over the driver and issued them a warning or a $164 ticket, which includes three points on their license.

Since 2012, more than 2,000 tickets and 4,000 warnings have been issued across Orange County, with at least 200 of those tickets and warnings issued at Woodbury Road and Mallory Circle.

“Local residents should feel good knowing that their commissioner finds the status quo of cars colliding with people unacceptable,” said Amanda Day, Project Director of Best Foot Forward. “Commissioner Thompson is an avid supporter of Best Foot Forward in helping educate East Orange County residents about pedestrian safety in the community and at events such as International Walk to School Day.”

BFF is making progress – with the active support of local leaders and by the “Triple E” method.

“Triple E” combines street safety Education, low-cost Engineering, and high-visibility Enforcement of Florida’s driver yield laws. Enforcement is especially important in reminding people who drive that Florida law requires drivers to yield to pedestrians in marked crosswalks.

Since 2012, driver yield rates have improved. Only 17 percent of drivers were yielding to pedestrians in 2012. That jumped to 59 percent in 2015 on roads posted 35 mph and lower. For roads posted 40 mph and higher, the rate jumped from only two percent in 2012 to just around 12 percent today.

“Best Foot Forward is making progress one yield rate at a time,” said Day. “High-visibility enforcement reminds motorists of the law while sending a message that we take pedestrian safety seriously.”

Day also stressed the importance of education. BFF gives presentations to local organizations and works closely with Orange County Public Schools, especially in East Orange County. Armed with eye-opening facts, IY4Peds bumper stickers and materials, BFF plans to present to PTAs at Discovery Middle, Waterford Elementary and Somerset Elementary schools this spring.

Two remaining Operation Best Foot Forward enforcement details will be conducted in June and October in East Orange County.

To put your best foot forward and keep your family and friends safe, learn more by visitingwww.IYield4Peds.org for more information or to request a BFF representative to come speak to your neighborhood group.

Click here for the original article.

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