Monday, October 4, 2010

WalkWise Tampa Bay joins Tampa BayCycle to walk and bike safely

USF’s Center for Urban Transportation Research Takes on Pedestrian Safety in WalkWise Tampa Bay

Tampa, Fla. (Sept. 22, 2010) – With the Tampa Bay area leading the nation in pedestrian injuries and fatalities, the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) and the Florida Department of Transportation’s District Seven have joined forces to educate walkers and promote pedestrian safety in a new community initiative, WalkWise Tampa Bay.

Over the next year, approximately 400 free presentations will be made to community groups, neighborhood associations and in local workplaces in Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties promoting safety techniques that can save the lives of pedestrians. Julie Bond, a senior research associate with CUTR, is coordinating the effort under a contract with the Florida Department of Transportation.

In 2008, 11.1 percent of pedestrians and 17.4 percent of bicyclists killed in the U.S. died in Florida, which has six percent of the nation’s population. The 15-minute presentation that provides pedestrians with easy-to-remember safety tips and encourages them to share safety methods with others is designed as a grassroots effort to empower pedestrians to protect themselves.

“Everyone is a pedestrian at some point during their day- whether they are taking a walk, walking to school or just walking from their car in the parking lot,” Bond said. “This is information everyone can use.”

Each attendee to the safety workshops receives a WalkWise Tampa Bay reflective bag after the presentation and is named to a growing list of WalkWise Ambassadors. The hope, Bond said, is that if local residents can walk safely and reap the environmental, financial and health benefits of walking, they will do so.

Among the projects that are part of WalkWise Tampa Bay is the Gulf Boulevard flag program, which has created new safety measures for pedestrians. Walkers at cross walks can use a large flag highlighted with reflective tape to help better alert drivers to their presence; when they are finished crossing the street, the flag is left in a holder at the intersection for the next pedestrian. Three hundred flags are located at more than 30 crosswalks along the Pinellas beach communities with plans for eight additional locations.

Additional information on WalkWise Tampa Bay can be found at

Members of the media interested in attending a presentation to a community group should contact Julie Bond for information on dates, times and locations of upcoming WalkWise events.

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