West Palm Beach Making It Safer For Pedestrians And Cyclists
West Palm Beach police are beginning a high-visibility enforcement detail to help keep drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians safe on the road. The campaign runs now through May 15, 2020.
The city of West Palm Beach has a goal of zero fatalities and zero serious injuries on its roadways by the year 2030, and is on its way with the Vision Zero initiative. Recent data from the City of West Palm Beach shows a more than 20 percent decline for crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists, 23 percent and 26.7 percent, respectively, from 2017 to 2018. The driving force behind the program is the three E’s: engineering, education and enforcement. City traffic engineer Uyen Dang says it is all about designing safer streets for everyone. “We target corridors, we look at how do we bring safety to our most vulnerable and those are our bicyclists and pedestrians. We need to design for wider sidewalks and we need to design for safer biking environments,” said Dang. “We continue to use data to identify the highest crash intersections and most problematic streets. Once identified, we are then engineering solutions to improve the street for all users,” said Tara Applebaum, the city’s Vision Zero coordinator.
Officers will target Broadway from 36th Street to 59th Street, Okeechobee Boulevard, Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard and Banyan Boulevard from Dixie Highway to Tamarind Avenue.
Tips for Sharing the Road with Bicyclists
It is not always easy to share the road with bicyclists when you are in a hurry, or when it is dark outside, and it is difficult to see bicyclists who have not taken safety measures like putting reflectors on their bicycle or wearing reflective clothing. However, it is extremely important for Florida drivers to remember that they have a duty to share the road with bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Failing to share the road, and failing to acknowledge the rights of bicyclists, can result in a serious or fatal collision.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides the following tips for motorists when it comes to sharing the road with bicyclists:
- Understand that bicyclists, when on the roadway, have the same rights and responsibilities as other drivers in motor vehicles;
- Treat bicyclists like other drivers on the road;
- Always pass bicyclists in the same way that you would another motor vehicle (in other words, only pass when you can safely move into another lane in order to pass);
- Gives bicyclists enough room on the road – at least 3 feet in the State of Florida;
- Never pass bicyclists too closely;
- Always keep an eye out for bicyclists in areas where you would not expect to see a motor vehicle, such as when you make a right-hand turn; and
- Look for a bicyclist approaching from the rear anytime you turn at an intersection.