Starting this month through May 2024, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) will have additional deputies on patrol at specific corridors with a high occurrence of pedestrian and bicyclist crashes — an initiative that aims to reduce and eliminate fatal injury to pedestrians and bicyclists, a press release states.
According to the release, Hillsborough County ranks in the top 26 counties in Florida for traffic crashes resulting in severe and fatal injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists.
To help reverse this trend, HCSO is participating in the Florida Department of Transportation High Visibility Enforcement (HVE) Program to educate motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians on Florida's traffic laws to improve safety on Hillsborough County roads.
Deputies will look for drivers speeding, failing to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, conducting improper turns or signal violations, and using hand-held devices while driving.
Deputies also will watch for pedestrians who cross the street illegally or fail to yield to motorists who have the right-of-way. Bicyclists will be stopped for riding against traffic, riding at night without lights, or not abiding by the same laws as motor vehicles.
Deputies will issue warnings and citations only when appropriate.
Funding for this program is provided through a contract with the University of North Florida's Institute of Police Technology and Management (IPTM), funded by the Florida Department of Transportation.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office will receive funds for overtime hours for deputies to conduct operations to educate the public about bicycle and pedestrian safety.
The following locations will be part of the upcoming HVE operation:
Special attention will be directed towards increasing awareness of the dangerous behaviors contributing to serious and fatal injuries at these locations.
To keep the public safe, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office offers the following tips when biking, driving or walking:
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) developed Florida's Bicycle/Pedestrian Focused Initiative in 2011 to lead all efforts to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety in the state. The public education campaign was branded "Alert Today Florida.”
"We're committed to making our roadways as safe as possible," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "With the population growth we're experiencing in Hillsborough County, the need for increased driver safety is paramount."
This initiative aims to eliminate traffic crashes on Florida's roads that result in severe or fatal injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists. Objectives include advancing data collection, analysis, and evaluation to guide the implementation of comprehensive safety strategies directed towards areas with the highest representation of traffic crashes resulting in severe or fatal injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists.