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Sarasota sheriff renews push for pedestrian safety

(City of Sarasota)
Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 9:49 AM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office will be increasing patrols in specific areas in the county to focus on bicycle and pedestrian safety.

The announcement comes in the wake of two pedestrian deaths in the area this week. On Sept. 19, a 71-year-old New Jersey man was killed trying to cross U.S. 41 near Sarasota Square Mall. A 66-year-old Bradenton man was killed Tuesday night also trying to cross U.S. 41 in Manatee County.

The sheriff’s office’s High Visibility Enforcement (HVE) initiative is funded through a contract with the University of North Florida and Institute of Police Technology and Management (IPTM), in partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation.

Sarasota County ranks in the top 25 counties in Florida for traffic crashes resulting in serious and fatal injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists. The special enforcement will begin Oct. 1 through May 2022, with a focus on predetermined locations based on statistical crash data. These areas include:

  • Bee Ridge Road from Village Green Drive to Maceachen Boulevard, Sawyer Road to Bond Place, Pine Ridge Road to Jetta Drive, and Honore Avenue to I-75.
  • S. 41 from Central Sarasota Parkway to Gulf Gate Drive, Blackburn Point Road to Osprey Point Drive, and Jacaranda Boulevard to Durian Road.
  • Clark Road from Westwind Lane to Beneva Road.
  • Stickney Point Road from U.S. 41 to Albert Place.
  • North Indiana Avenue from West Green Street to Tangerine Woods Boulevard.
  • Fruitville Road from Simmons Avenue to North Cattlemen Road.
  • North Lockwood Ridge Road from 15th Street to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
  • Bahia Vista Street from Kaufman Avenue to McIntosh Road.

The goal of the enforcement effort is to increase awareness of and compliance with traffic laws that protect the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists, the sheriff’s office said. Enforcement efforts will focus primarily on education to drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists however, violations may result in warnings or citations.

Drivers are encouraged to always obey speed limits, never drive impaired, and watch for pedestrians and bicyclists. Bicyclists should obey traffic laws, ride in the direction of traffic, and use lights when riding at night. Finally, pedestrians are asked to cross in crosswalks or at intersections, obey pedestrian signals, and make sure they are visible to drivers when walking at night.

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