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Waving for Safety in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Posted on September 15, 2014

The city of Fort Lauderdale is trying an experiment when it comes to augmenting the safety of pedestrians who attempt to cross Los Olas Boulevard in its entertainment district. The city is providing neon flags that pedestrians can wave while crossing in the crosswalk.

The idea, says a spokeswoman for the city, is to make pedestrians more visible as they make their way across the boulevard.

“The reasoning behind the process is to elevate public safety, make pedestrians visible at an intersection that is not signalized,” the spokeswoman told the Miami Herald.

The concept behind this program is not new. St. Paul, Minnesota, Seattle, Washington and Berkeley, California have also tried pedestrian flag programs with varying degrees of success. The largest and most comprehensive flag program was in Seattle, which introduced its program in 2008. The program was later dropped after it was found that there was no marked impact on pedestrian safety and that people tended to steal the flags. Berkley, which introduced its program in 2004, also dropped its program for similar reasons.

After Fort Lauderdale introduced its program, three out of the four flags provided at the intersection were stolen. The city replaced the flags and has since added 15 flags into the mix.

According to the 2014 Dangerous by Design report, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach metro area was cited as the fourth most dangerous location in the nation for pedestrian safety.

Residents seem split on the idea of the potential effectiveness of the program. While some interviewed by the Herald thought that putting a signal at the intersection made more sense, others thought it was a good idea.

“It feels weird having to carry around a flag, but kind of cute. I think it’s working,” said one resident

The pedestrian injury accident attorneys at Farah & Farah in St. Augustine laud the city of Fort Lauderdale as it attempts to improve pedestrian safety. Too many pedestrians are injured or killed on Florida’s roads by negligent and distracted drivers. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, call us at (800) 533-3555 or contact us online to set up a free consultation concerning your case.