BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. - The National Highway Safety Administration ranks Florida third in the nation for pedestrian fatalities, and Lee County is in the top fifteen of Florida counties for most pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities. But thanks to a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation, the Lee County Sheriff's Office took part in an operation on Tuesday to promote safer behaviors for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers.
The program's main objective is to reduce traffic crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists through the use of selected enforcement and education. Deputies focused on areas in Bonita Springs, issuing 33 citations to drivers, and 19 warnings to drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists.
"Not everybody gets a ticket," said LSCO Sgt. Dan Leffin. "We're out here to educate, but we do it through enforcement."
He hopes more accidents can be prevented if pedestrians and bicyclists use common sense by using crosswalks when they have to cross the road.
"The bicyclist has to obey all the traffic laws just like a car," Leffin said. "They can't drive through a red light on the roadway, just like a car can't drive through a red light."
But he says drivers also need to give bicyclists their space.
"If a vehicle's going to pass a bicyclist, the bicyclist has to be going the same direction," Leffin said. "The car should give 3 feet (of space) between that vehicle and that bicyclist."
Leffin says the Lee County Sheriff's Office may get additional grants for similar targeted operations in the future.