Micromobility

Micromobility usage is on the rise nationally and in Florida. The FDOT District Two’s Community Traffic Safety Program examined what Micromobility currently looks like in Northeast Florida. In this presentation, we will discuss what micromobility is—and isn’t. We will look at the increased popularity of micromobility nationally and its use in Northeast Florida and consider some of the safety challenges associated with the increased use of micromobility devices while keeping in mind the goal of ZERO fatalities on our roadways.

Watch the Micromobility video presentation:

How micromobility is defined is important because the functional and legal definitions determine the rights and responsibilities of micromobility device users operating on public streets and, accordingly, how law enforcement, public safety educators, and transportation planners and engineers can work to help improve safety outcomes.

From an industry perspective, they must be:

  • fully or partially electrically powered.
  • lightweight, under 500 pounds.
  • relatively low-speed—under 30 miles per hour.
Micromobility Device Examples

Examples include powered bicycles, also known as “E-bikes,” standing scooters, seated scooters, self-balancing boards like “Segways” and some “Hoverboards,” non-self-balancing boards, powered skates, and a range of other similar devices.

We highlight Florida Statutes and how micromobility is defined in Florida law. We discuss local regulation and Florida’s “Home Rule” principle. As a result, local governments can prohibit use on trails and sidewalks and regulate “for-hire” devices up to and including prohibition.

Flip through the presentation slides:

In five years, from 2016 to 2019, the use of shared, for-hire devices has increased more than seven-fold. Use accelerates as fleets of scooters and e-bikes are deployed in more cities.

While electric devices differ from “Active Transportation” modes like walking and pedaling a bike, the safety and infrastructure focus are similar. Micromobility devices are treated the same as traditional bicycles from a legal perspective because they generally have similar speed, maneuverability, and weight. Accordingly, strategies to enhance bicyclist safety, as well as strategies to make streets safer for pedestrians, will generally benefit micromobility users as well.

Micromobility Infrastructure Needs
Micromobility Docks, Corrals, Dockless

The infrastructure options to make micromobilty safe and effective are similar to those for cycling —namely, lower-stress facilities. Accordingly, networks that include low-stress facilities such as protected bike lanes, shared-use paths, bike boulevards, and cycle tracks will be more appealing to and improve the safety outcomes of a broader group of conventional bicycle and micromobility users.

Shared micromobility services are not currently as common in Northeast Florida as in other parts of the state. To date, three communities have active contracts with micromobility providers.

Micromobility in Gainesville
Micromobility in Jacksonville
Micromobility in St Augustine

Safety challenges are similar to bicycles. However, an E-bike or powered scooter can attain relatively high speeds faster and with little effort. Lack of experience is another critical factor.

Safety strategies include applying bicycle and pedestrian countermeasures. These include pedestrian safe crossings, low-stress bike infrastructure, and encouraging the use of helmets and safety equipment.

Our Community Traffic Safety Team members play an essential role in developing and implementing strategies to address these safety challenges. This includes working with local governments to include best-practice provisions in micromobility vendor contracts concerning geofencing and management of the public right-of-way; planning, designing, and construction of low-stress bicycle infrastructure to provide for overall mobility advantages; and working with businesses, chambers of commerce, and local law enforcement to provide educational material to tourists and other potentially inexperienced micromobility users.

We hope you take this opportunity to learn about Micromobility. Additionally, check out bicycle and pedestrian safety resources and tips.

Micromobility news and resources:

“E-scooters, which were a novelty just a few years ago, are here to stay. Everyone deserves to feel safe on the road, and we must do more to prioritize safety for this growing mode of travel.”

GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins

Driving Tips for Teens

FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program developed ten short videos with driving tips for teens. A series of brief educational and informative traffic safety messages were posted on YouTube for National Teen Driver Safety Week – and all year long. The highest percentage of our Traffic Safety Team YouTube channel audience (41.6%) is between the ages of 18 and 24, and an ideal place to help educate teens about speeding, distracted driving, and other road rules.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in 2021, Florida teens made up nearly 5 percent of Florida’s driving population. However, more than 11 percent of all motor vehicle crashes in Florida involved a teen driver. Parents, teachers, and caregivers are a great source of driver education, and we hope they share these videos.

Occupant Protection and Distracted Driving Road Rules:

Buckle Up – It Can Save Your Life
Stop Distractions – Focus on Driving

Safety belts save lives! Buckling up properly is the single, most effective way to protect yourself in a crash. Wear your safety belt across your shoulder and your waist. Front seat drivers and passengers AND backseat passengers under age 18 – MUST wear a safety belt (Florida Law!)

Distracted driving is NOT just from cell phones but also includes: talking to passengers, eating, adjusting the radio, reaching for items in the backseat, putting on cosmetics, and anything that takes your attention away from the roadway. Please put your phone down, and focus on driving! In Florida, texting and driving are not just dangerous; it’s illegal.

Bicycle Safety and Motorcycle Driving Tips for Teens and All Motorists:

Bike Safety for Cyclists and Motorists
Please Always Ride Responsibly

Cyclists, please note: Lighting equipment on your bicycle is required at night. Helmets are required for those under 16 years of age. You are required to have properly working brakes. Always ride on the right-hand shoulder of the road. Do not wear earbuds in both ears. Motorists, this is Florida law: When passing a bike on the roadway, you must give three feet when passing. Please watch for sharrow markings on the road – this means that motorists must share the lane with cyclists.

Many factors can lead to motorcycle crashes – not just inexperienced motorcycle riders and motorists – but careless driving. Left turns in front of motorcycles are the leading reason for a crash – 40% of the time. Always look twice and drive with care. Bikes that are over 50cc require an endorsement on your license – Make sure you get the proper training and wear a helmet!

Pedestrian Safety and Florida’s Move Over Law:

Learn About Pedestrian RRFBs
Move Over and Slow Down

Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB) Tips for pedestrians: Activate the signal by pushing the button. Wait for the lights to flash. Step to the curb and wait for traffic to stop. Cross the road while constantly monitoring traffic. And tips for Florida drivers: If you approach an RRFB and the lights are flashing, and a pedestrian is present, you must come to a complete stop at the stop bar. Remain stopped until the pedestrians are across the roadway. You may proceed with caution after the pedestrians have cleared the road.

Drivers, here is what you need to know about the Florida Move Over Law. This law includes police, emergency, service vehicles, Florida Road Rangers, tow trucks, construction, and other utility vehicles that are stopped on the side of the road and displaying flashing yellow, red, or blue lights. On approach, move over one lane. If you cannot safely move over, reduce your speed by at least 20 mph below. Police are cracking down. You might receive a moving violation if you do not abide by this Florida law

Lane Departure and Intersection Traffic Safety Tips:

Lane Departure is a Leading Cause of Fatalities
Traffic Safety at Intersections

Speeding on a curve is one of the leading causes of lane departure crashes. Never accelerate going into a curve! Release acceleration, coast through the curve, then resume acceleration. Chevrons, rumble strips, barriers, and guardrails are all countermeasures to reduce lane departure. Please drive carefully!

In Florida, intersections are among the top 2 locations for serious injury crashes. When approaching an intersection, be aware of driveway accesses, vehicles that suddenly come to a complete stop, and cars that suddenly change lanes in front of you. When stopped at a red light, check for pedestrians. Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists before turning right. When you see the flashing yellow arrow, yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

School Bus and Railroad Crossing Safety Reminders:

Stop for School Buses
Railroad Crossing Safety Tips

Here are some important railroad crossing tips to keep in mind: Do not drive through, around, or under a railroad crossing gate. Never stop on the tracks. Stay back at least 15 feet from the track. Walking or stopping on the tracks is hazardous.

When the yellow lights begin to flash on a school bus, it is coming to a stop to load or unload students; you must stop and do not pass the bus. Remain stopped until the stop panels are retracted, the door is closed, and the bus begins to proceed. The only time you are not required to stop for a school bus is if you are in the opposing lanes of the bus on a roadway with a raised median or physical barrier of at least five feet or more.

These road rules apply to drivers of all ages, significantly younger inexperienced motorists. The goal is to reduce crashes and eliminate fatalities and severe injuries on our roadways. #TargetZeroFL

Other Important Reminders for Teen Drivers:

  • Reduce the number of passengers
  • Lower music volume
  • Use turn signals
  • Limit driving at dark
  • Obey the speed limit
  • Stop at stop signs and traffic lights
  • Share the road

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, more than half of teens killed in crashes were not wearing a safety seat belt. We cannot say this enough, please always buckle up for every car ride!

Links to Additional Resources and Driving Tips for Teens:

Complete Streets

The Community Traffic Safety Program in Northeast Florida is committed to education, outreach, and the Target Zero goal of reducing serious injuries and deaths on our roadways. This presentation explains why FDOT’s Complete Streets are essential for safety and mobility. Learn about the policy, design guidance, strategies, and project examples.

Watch the video presentation of Complete Streets:

Because most of Florida’s population growth and development occurred in the “age of the automobile,” our transportation system can be challenging to non-motorized road users—pedestrians and cyclists. Complete Streets are essential for the safety and mobility of vulnerable road users.

The presentation includes national and Florida bicycle and pedestrian crash trends. In 2019, Florida had the highest number of bicycle fatalities. Pedestrian crashes account for approximately 20 percent of the fatal crashes in the 18 counties comprising District Two.

Recognizing these challenges, the FDOT Complete Streets policy was officially adopted in 2014. The approach for the Department is to consider all users of all ages and abilities in how it plans, designs, builds, and operates its transportation system. Complete Streets are roads designed not only for passenger cars and trucks but also for transit riders, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Flip through the Complete Streets presentation:

The context classification system broadly identifies the various built environments in Florida based on the general characteristics of land use, development patterns, and connectivity along a state roadway. These attributes provide cues to the types of uses that will likely utilize the road. This is used to make decisions about design parameters. The presentation provides an overview of each roadway context class.

Eight Context Classifications can be found throughout Northeast Florida:

  • C1 Natural – lands preserved in a natural or wilderness condition, including lands unsuitable for settlement due to natural conditions.
  • C2 Rural – sparsely settled areas which may include agricultural land, woodland, and wetlands.
  • C2T Rural Town – rural and natural areas immediately surround small concentrations of developed regions.
  • C3R Suburban Residential – primarily residential uses within large blocks and a disconnected, sparse major roadway network.
  • C3C Suburban Commercial – mostly non-residential uses with large building footprints and parking lots. Buildings are within large blocks and a disconnected/sparse roadway network.
  • C4 Urban General – areas with a mix of uses set within small blocks with a well-connected roadway network.
  • C5 Urban Center -typically concentrated around a few blocks and identified as part of a civic or economic center of a community with a well-connected grid network.
  • C6 Urban Core – areas with the highest densities and building heights within large, urbanized areas. Buildings have mixed uses and are close to roadways with a well-connected grid network.
  • LA Limited Access – roadways with grade separation and limited access, such as interstates and expressways.

Examples of strategies used in District Two to make streets safer and more complete for all users:

Towards the presentation’s conclusion are examples of successful Complete Streets projects in the Northeast Florida area, including before and after photos. One project on US 17/Main Street in Jacksonville reduced lane widths to provide space for a landscaped median and introduced street trees, enhanced crosswalks, and other features to manage speeds. As a result, it improved safety and made the roadway more accommodating for pedestrians.

Another example is along Archer Road in a more suburban area of Gainesville; we see how lane widths were reduced to provide for bicycle lanes. For instance, the introduction of a mid-block crosswalk to improve pedestrian connectivity.

A shared-use path was constructed on the right-of-way along State Road 207, a rural highway in East Palatka. The design and operation of the roadway were left unchanged for motorists. However, the new pathway provides for safer mobility of cyclists and pedestrians along the road.

We hope you take this opportunity to learn about Complete Streets and try new transportation options. The state of Florida celebrates Mobility Week to promote awareness of safe, multimodal transportation choices. Additionally, please check out our bicycle and pedestrian resources, and share the traffic safety messages.

Traffic Safety School Days

There are several traffic safety school days and weeks throughout the year. Walk to School Day is coming up this October 5th. And National School Bus Safety Week is October 17-21, 2022. This is a great time to promote traffic safety with the kiddos.

Free Content for Traffic Safety School Days and Events

These special awareness events are an opportunity for community outreach and education. Learning good traffic safety behaviors at a young age can lead to safer, more competent road users. The Northeast Florida Community Traffic Safety Program has excellent resources for everyone to share… schools, teachers, parents, daycare centers, community groups, etc.

National Walk to School Day Resources

Please share these safe walking tips with children in your local community. Below are a video, a color sheet, and two activity pages. These are perfect for showing before and on National Walk to School Day.

Video: Walk to School Safely
Traffic Safety School Days
Printable Coloring Sheet: Walk Safe to School PDF
Walking Rules Activity Page: Tips for Preteen Pedestrians
Activity Sheet for Elementary Age Children: Walk Safe!

National School Bus Safety Week Resources

Available materials for National School Bus Safety Week include a video, a color sheet, and two activity pages. Please share these school bus safety tips for children.

Video: Bus to School Safely
Printable Coloring Sheet: School Bus Stop Safety Rules PDF
Bus+ATV Safe Activity Page: Tips for Preteens
Activity Sheet for Elementary Age Children: Bus Safe!

Walking and School Bus Safety Rules for Children and Drivers

Two of our safety bookmarks distributed to community public libraries in Northeast Florida include school bus and walking safety education. The graphics below can be printed and handed out as a flyer. You could also fold it in half and use it as a bookmark! One half has a crossword puzzle to keep kids engaged while learning (or refreshing) up on safety rules. The other half has safe driving reminders for motorists. These would be great pieces for kids to do at school and take home to share with their parents and caregivers.

traffic safety school days
traffic safety school days

Additional Traffic Safety Pedestrian and School Bus Information

Find even more resources on these pages listed below. Check out “Safety Town” – traffic safety for children at home, school, and around the neighborhood. We made our activity books easy to download and print as activity sheets on our “Safety for Kids.” Our “National School Bus Safety Week” blog post and “School Bus Safety” page have safety reminders for drivers and students.

4 E’s and More in Traffic Safety

The Northeast Florida Community Traffic Safety Program in FDOT District Two has long since integrated and promoted the 4 E’s. Our local Community Traffic Safety Teams (CTSTs) were founded on the four core values of road safety: enforcement, emergency service, engineering, and education.

It’s time to reevaluate the 4 E’s and more in traffic safety

The 4 E’s remain fundamental in traffic safety. However, as we work towards our goal of Target Zero, perhaps it is time to expand the list. Bringing new partners to the table can create better insight and opportunities to reduce the number and severity of crashes. This will result in fewer fatalities and serious injuries.

Evaluation is sometimes mentioned as the fifth E. Evaluating our roadway safety programs and crash facts has always been a critical function.

Innovation and technology play a big part in traffic safety today and in the future. Embedded technology could officially be added to the list as a vital part of road safety for six E’s. It continues to expand and grow with improved vehicle systems. Some embedded technology safety features include:

  • adaptive cruise control
  • airbag
  • telematics
  • traction control
  • in-vehicle entertainment
  • emission control system
  • parking system
  • navigation systems
  • collision sensors
  • climate control
  • radio
  • anti-lock braking systems

Evaluation and Embedded Technology brings it up to 6 E’s

Over the years, new players have been invited to the table. We need to do things differently to change the number and severity of crashes. Innovation and technology have helped us get where we are. Therefore, embedded technology needs to be included to continue learning and adapting.

Traffic safety partners are vital for every CTST. We must enlist, engage, encourage, and have equity to be effective. In summary, “it takes a village” to tackle and change driver behavior on our highways. We need to engage ALL players. This graphic illustrates our adaptation of the four original E’s of road safety and expands with the new E’s to enhance and complete the process.

4 E’s and More in Traffic Safety

10 E’s in Traffic Safety:

  • Engineering
  • Education
  • Enforcement
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Evaluation
  • Embedded Technology
  • Engage
  • Enlist
  • Encourage
  • Equity

The Northeast Florida Community Traffic Safety Teams are locally based groups of highway safety advocates committed to solving traffic safety problems through a comprehensive, multi-jurisdictional, multidisciplinary approach. Our teams comprise members from the four “E” disciplines of highway safety—Engineering, Education, Enforcement, and Emergency Medical Services. Members also include City, County, and State representatives, private industry, and citizens. The common goal of each team is to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes within their community.

Engage, Enlist, Encourage, and Equity are four more E’s to consider

Community Traffic Safety Team members are a vital part of the program. They work together to help solve local traffic safety problems related to drivers, vehicles, and roadways. Four additional E’s have been brought to the table that could assist these members, partners, and agencies. The new categories include Engage Your Audience,  Enlist Your People, Encourage Your Team, and Equity Sharing Opportunities.

In addition, it has been asked, “Should we expand safety strategies to include the 4 I’s?” These related topics benefit the Community Traffic Safety Program and improve the traffic safety culture. The 4 I’s include:

  • Information Intelligence
  • Innovation
  • Insight into Communities
  • Investment & Policies

In conclusion, the 4 E’s remain a core traffic safety function. However, there is room to grow. Adding additional strategies and insight can help work towards ZERO fatalities on our roadways.