Beginning March 11 through May 15, the FGCU Police Department will enforce traffic laws on vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists following a grant for High Visibility Enforcement for pedestrian and bicycle safety.
Officers will conduct education and enforcement efforts for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists on university grounds and on Ben Hill Griffin Parkway, issuing warnings, citations and education brochures.
UPD officer Sean Myles Kittleson applied for the grant provided through the University of South Florida in partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation as a response to Lee County’s number one rank in most dangerous roads in the state.
“This grant starts with an educational phase, warning phase and citation phase, but the citation phase is optional,” Kittleson said. “We’d much rather educate people than ticket them. The purpose is to promote safety.”
The USF Center for Urban Transportation Research in partnership with the FDOT funded the grant in 2011 to campaign pedestrian and bicycle safety and reduce fatalities, injuries and crashes.
According to the FDOT, Florida has twice the national average of pedestrian fatalities with almost ten pedestrians killed every week and at least 92 percent of bicycle crashes resulting in injuries.
FGCU freshman Bianca Madison believes traffic rules should be enforced on pedestrians, as she had instances in which people ran in front of her car.
“They get reckless,” Madison said. “We’ll be driving, and (pedestrians)will run in front of the car to hurry up and cross the road, and that makes me mad. It’s dangerous.”
UPD wants to remind pedestrians and bicyclists to obey traffic laws as emphasized in an email sent to students on March 13. Bicyclists who do not obey traffic signs are subject to an $161 citation.
“We’re not trying to hound people,” Kittleson said. “We just want people to be safe and educate them on how they can do that.”