TEMPLE TERRACE, Fla. - Hillsborough county is on a mission to drop the the number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths to zero. The next step puts an emphasis on finding simple low-cost solutions that could have a big impact on your safety.
"Drivers are not very good at paying attention to other cars, let alone bicycles," said David Edmunson.
David Edmunson bikes through the same stretch of his Temple Terrace neighborhood along Bullard Parkway at least three times a week.
"I've had cars pull around me, and make a right turn in front of me, and I've taken a spill a couple times because of that," Edmunson said.
The challenge on the busy street is that the bike lane is very narrow, with faded road markings.
"I've had a lot of close encounters," said Edmunson.
That's why the Metropolitan Planning Organization is taking on this road as its next project in "Vision Zero," an effort aimed at improving safety for cyclists and pedestrians.
"We have to do better than we're doing now," said Gena Torres, Metropolitan Planning Organization executive planner.
The concept is finding small solutions to fix big problems. On Bullard parkway, the county will use bright green paint down the bridge to highlight the bike lane, and make it a little wider.
"The city of Tampa has started to do these bike lanes, and they're working really well. Because when you're a motorist that's not used to see cyclists with you or in the roadway, now you're kind of like--oh okay, I need to be here, and there could be a cyclist here. It's just a really great awareness and education," Torres said.
David Edmunson thinks anything helping draw attention to everyone using the road is a good thing.
"Share the road, you know. Bikers have the right to that lane," said Edmunson.
The county is still studying other improvements that could be made down the road. But it's confident even these basic changes will help prevent crashes and save lives.
A workshop will be held about how paint can be used to save lives next Tuesday, April 25th in Temple Terrace. Volunteers will also be gathering there to paint the new green bike lane on Bullard Parkway. The workshop starts at 9 a.m. at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church, 420 Bullard Pkwy. If you have questions, or would like to volunteer next Tuesday, contact Gena Torres at 813.273.3774 ext. 357.