Maitland PD to begin pedestrian visibility enforcement

The department will have officers monitoring high-traffic areas in the city.

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  • | 9:56 a.m. April 5, 2019
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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Florida is the No. 1 state in the country for both bicycle fatalities and  pedestrian deaths. In particular, Orange County is in the top 25 counties for pedestrian crashes leading to serious or fatal injuries in the state. 

The Maitland Police Department is looking for ways to change that for their own city. In 2018, Maitland had 1,086 reported traffic crashes with four traffic fatalities. 

Maitland PD has entered a Florida Department of Transportation program for its officers to take training to increase high visibility enforcement of pedestrians. 

“It’s basically for the education or improvement of pedestrian bicycle safety,” Maitland Police Department Public Information Officer Louis Grindle said. “The goal is to help increase awareness of pedestrians and bicyclists of traffic laws and increase the safety of those pedestrians. … Our goal is to make it educational. And not just for the pedestrians but (also) for the drivers to know the traffic laws and how pedestrians and bicyclists affect them on the roadway.”

The High Visibility Enforcement program, funded in part by the University of North Florida, has eight Maitland officers taking classes to learn more about traffic laws and deliver more efficient enforcement. The city decided to enter the FDOT program last year. 

Shortly after, Orlando Health cardiologist Dr. Robert Dalton was struck by a car and killed while riding his bicycle along Orlando Avenue near Versailles Drive in December 2018. 

“It was just one more reason for us to try and get out and contact where officers may see a lot of violations,” Grindle said.

The four-hour class officers have been taking includes road problems that lead to traffic, common traffic violations that contribute to death or injuries and also highlights state laws that govern pedestrian movement, Grindle said. Traffic issues in Maitland are often exacerbated by changing traffic routes and patterns due to Interstate 4 construction that puts heavier traffic on the road.

He said many of the officers were volunteers who had experience doing traffic enforcement or wanted to participate in doing so. 

“I think what they’re finding out is there’s a lack of general understanding of the laws for pedestrians and bicyclists," Grindle said. "The class is covering quite a bit of that.”

He said other cities across Florida are already part of the program.

Some of the high-risk areas that see violations are on Maitland Avenue, 17-92 and Orlando Avenue and often have walkers and pedestrians traveling and not using crosswalks. The greater number of bicyclists and pedestrians often leads to a greater number of violations. 

“We’re looking at areas where we might experience or have experienced violations with pedestrians not utilizing the crosswalks or adhering to traffic lights or signals,” he said. “Most of the time around Lake Avenue, there’s a lot of Maitland pedestrians and bicyclists.”

The department will pick random dates to have the class-trained officers work the heavier pedestrian areas.


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