Florida T2’s Ped/Bike SRC is Traveling the State to Keep You Safe

“Reprinted” from article published on the Florida T2 Center Website on 5/22/2014 at  http://stage.t2ctt.ce.ufl.edu/t2ctt/T2Newsletter.asp

The Florida T2 Center has been proud to host Florida’s Pedestrian and Bicycling Safety Resource Center (SRC) since 2009. Funded by the Florida Department of Transportation Safety Office, the SRC promotes safe pedestrian and bicycling activities for citizens and visitors, young and old, by providing educational materials and information to advocacy groups in the state. In order to stay well informed, involved, and connected with safety efforts around Florida, your friendly SRC staff, Wanda Tison and Paul Simpson (pictured below) attend and participate in meetings, events, and conferences  when possible – and they stay busy! Read on to find out what they’ve been up to already this year.

In order to spread the message about the importance of ped/bike safety, Wanda and Paul hosted booths at various events around the state and at a national conference in Tennessee. The Driver’s Ed Conference held in Boca Raton on February 21 reached many educators and raised awareness of the need to include curriculum that covers bicyclists and pedestrians alike. The SRC booth was the most popular booth at the event; many teachers were very interested in the educational items, saying that the items would be great incentives to motivate students to practice ped/bike safety.

Wanda and Paul traveled to Nashville, TN, on April 27 – 29 and participated in the Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities, the largest gathering of highway safety professionals in the U.S . The two hosted a booth and displayed a poster (right) showcasing the efforts of the SRC and selected educational materials used in Florida.

The Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Awareness Event at the VA Hospital in Gainesville on March 11, 2014, raised awareness and prevention of TBIs. The event was well attended, and Wanda and Paul were on hand at their booth to stress the role of ped/bike safety in avoiding TBIs, especially by wearing helmets.

Speaking of helmets, to keep the word going around Florida about the necessity of protecting the head while riding, Wanda and Paul conduct Helmet Fitter trainings at their T2 Center location in Gainesville. They have conducted two trainings so far this year, and trainings across the state are happening at a record pace. During the first quarter of 2014 alone, 190 people completed the required training to fit helmets.

Pursuant to this effort, Wanda and Paul fitted and distributed 80 bike helmets at the UF Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research Sustainability Fair at the UF Campus on March 12. The fair aimed to educate students on ways they could safely get involved in green efforts on and off campus, including biking and walking instead of driving.

On March 22, the SRC was one of 30 community partners that attended the UF Health Bike Rodeo and Summer Safety Fair, where Wanda and Paul, assisted by their coworker Sean Samford, provided educational literature, promotional items, and instructions to parents and their children on how to properly fit and wear bike helmets. This fun and busy event was held in the UF O’Connell Center parking lot, where volunteers from UF Health and Kohl’s department store assisted Wanda, Paul, and Sean in fitting and distributing helmets to 300 adults and 300 children. This effort was made possible by a generous donation of just over $14,000 from Kohl’s.

SRC staff also assisted the rodeo planning committee by stuffing 400 bags (left) of educational materials to have on hand for the event. The bags contained both educational material and promotional items, such as one subject notebooks, Sprocket Man comic books, mini first aid kits, mood pencils, hand fans, parents’ guide to safety, and a synopsis of the Florida bicycling statutes. Each item included a safety message to help spread the work about bicycling safety. The SRC hopes to partner again next year to continue to bring attention to pedestrian and bicycle safety. Through these partnerships and the efforts of many volunteers, the event succeeded in its aim to touch and impact the lives of the community, especially children, and raise awareness of how to keep children safe as they participate in all the fun activities available during the summer months.

On January 21, Paul attended a kick-off ceremony for traffic safety improvements that FDOT is beginning on I-75 at Paynes Prairie (right). The event was well attended by a variety of different law enforcement agencies, as well as State Representative Keith Perry, FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad, and Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell. All three spoke about the project, their commitment to upholding the project’s mission, and their gratitude to the many individuals and agencies involved. For more information on this project, click here to view the FDOT press release.

On April 22-23, Wanda and Paul attended the Alert Today Alive Tomorrow (ATAT) Safety Coalition meeting at the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR). The SRC is partnering with the ATAT campaign by co-branding, gathering county data, collaborating on promotional items, and providing input and ideas. Wanda and Paul gathered valuable information and conducted networking sessions at the meeting to brainstorm the best educational items to provide from the SRC.

Paul and Wanda will continue to energetically promote safety and awareness wherever and whenever they can. To read more about the SRC’s efforts and to get in touch with Wanda or Paul, visit the website, email, or call. You can also follow the SRC on Facebook. Be sure to check the website often for new educational products, such as the Digi Clean personal screen cleaner and the Mini First Aid Kits added recently. We’re always willing to help, so we encourage you to stay in touch. And as always, we want you to STAY SAFE!