FIU Police to begin enforcing pedestrian safety with fines

FIU Police is going into the final phase of a pedestrian safety program and will start issuing fines.

Last month, FIU Police launched a pedestrian safety program focused on improving the safety of students walking to campus from Sweetwater and Westchester. The High Visibility Enforcement (HVE) 10-week education program, which is now in its fourth week, started with the distribution of pamphlets by FIU police officers at the three busiest intersections surrounding MMC. Then officers began handing out warnings to pedestrians and bicyclists for violations.

For the last three weeks of the program, officers will issue citations for the violations, such as disobeying traffic signals, not using sidewalks, jaywalking and failing to yield. Fines will be as high as $78.

So far, 136 pedestrians, 34 bicyclists and 56 motorists have received educational pamphlets and two pedestrians have been cited with written warnings.

“It is important to not only enforce safety on the streets but also to educate pedestrians and drivers,” said FIU Chief of Police Alexander D. Casas. “Our priority is to keep our university community safe.”

FIU is also participating in the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) campaign called Alert Tonight Florida. The educational campaign reminds motorists to watch out for pedestrians when driving at night by slowing down, staying alert and avoiding distractions. The campaign also advises pedestrians to wear bright colored clothing or reflective gear and bicyclists to always use lights at night.

Additionally, this past weekend a 174-foot section of the FIU-Sweetwater UniversityCity Bridge was installed over Southwest 8th Street, connecting Sweetwater to the campus. Once it is completed in early 2019, the bridge will serve as safer pedestrian route for students and visitors.