In April, when the term “quarantine” was a thing and most of us were under stay-at-home orders, most roads were much quieter when it came to car traffic.
It was a great time to for those who choose to ride a bike or walk our urban areas.
In short, it was a great time for the Best Foot Forward Coalition, which works with police and outreach groups to keep those who cross streets and mingle with car traffic safe.
During the quarantine phase, more people were biking and walking. The proof of that was the uptick in business at bike shops, which were deemed essential businesses and could stay open.
“How do we encourage that again, as people get back in their cars?” asked Best Foot Forward Program Director Amanda Day. “That’s the challenge.”
Best Foot Forward was created to reverse the conflict between pedestrians and drivers by focusing on one specific behavior change – getting drivers to yield for pedestrians in marked crosswalks. Florida law gives the right-of-way to those in crosswalks.
With businesses opening and people returning to work, the roads are looking more normal with car traffic.
“We’re out here to remind drivers to look for walkers and bikers, especially in crosswalks,” Day said. “And we’re reminding people who have taken to walking and biking now that drivers are back, and be where you’re supposed to be: the crosswalks. So we were for the behavior change to get people to stop at crosswalks, so pedestrians will use them. With so many people who drove becoming pedestrians during the the stay at home orders, sometimes those are the same person.”
Best Foot Forward monitors about 30 crosswalks just in Osceola County, and works with law enforcement to push enforcement of crosswalk laws — it comes down to drivers stopping for pedestrians in a crosswalk. The weekend of July 21-22 will see another enforcement push at a few targeted Osceola locations.
Best Foot Forward tracks an extensive amount of data on each of the 167 crosswalks Best Foot Forward has monitored and enforced in Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties since 2012. (To read more about its evaluation, click here).
“We’re after behavior change, not ticketing,” Day said.
Remember, any walker or biker in a crosswalk you see from your car has the right of way, and you MUST yield to them.