Thirteen law enforcement agencies across Central Florida launched Operation Vision Zero Thursday in an effort to end pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities.
In the first few hours of the initiative, Orlando police pulled over dozens of drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists for traffic violations. Through high visibility enforcement and public awareness, law enforcement agencies hope to prevent pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities on the roads.
“Education, Enforcement, Engineering ... all of these combined, we believe, will get us to our goal. Through this initiative, we aren’t just focusing on one thing like pedestrians or drivers. It is a collaborative effort to enforce traffic laws for pedestrians, drivers, and bike riders,” Orlando Deputy Chief James Young said.
Nearly 250 pedestrians and bicyclists died as a result of a crash in Orange County between 2013 and 2017 and more than 4,000 were injured, according to Signal Four Analytics. However, those statistics may not have much of an impact as one-by-one, officials said.
Orlando police spotted pedestrians and bicyclists crossing Orange Blossom Trail outside the crosswalks. Drivers were also pulled over for not following traffic laws.
“Distracted driving, people on their phones and looking down. We also see many traffic crashes where the pedestrians don’t know the law and cross in the middle of these major roadways,” Orange County Sheriff John Mina said.
James Franklin walks along Orange Blossom Trail frequently and says crosswalk or not, it is still a dangerous road for pedestrians.
“It really doesn’t make a difference unless the drivers start caring about the people walking, we’ll still be in danger regardless,” Franklin said. “A lot of people don’t respect the white line in the road. You never know if you can go in front or behind them."
A multi-year traffic study in Orange County helped authorities identify five Vision Zero Zones. One along Silver Star Road, two along Orange Blossom Trail, one on John Young Parkway and another on Colonial Drive. These areas have seen a high number of fatalities and injuries involving pedestrians and bicyclists.
There are dozens of other Vision Zero Zones throughout Central Florida that will be monitored through the end of March.