Sarasota County, as of 2/9/22, has made a change to the HAWK signal light sequence that significantly improves safety at intersections using this type of signal. This change was recommended by FLT and is supported by recommendations of the National Association of City Traffic Officials (NACTO).
Previously, vehicles were informed they could proceed cautiously with a flashing red light while trail users were still viewing a countdown of time remaining to cross the intersection. This was contrary to typical intersections, where countdown timers convey to pedestrians or cyclists that they have the right of way. Given the speed of cyclists, a cyclists could believe he had plenty of time to cross, while a driver believed they could go forward.
Based largely on recommendations and research performed by FLT, the county has now changed these signals to “maintain the solid red indication for motorists throughout the full bicycle clearance interval”, as recommended by the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide. With this change, these intersections become consistent with typical intersections, where pedestrians or cyclists have the right of way during the full countdown.
This change currently affects the crossings at Sawyer Loop Rd., Proctor Rd., and Webber St. When Section 3 of the Trail opens on March 3rd, the signal at Bahia Vista St. will also include this modification. Crossing signals at Beneva Rd. and Tuttle Ave. will be standard red lights.
We wish to thank the Sarasota County commissioners and staff for following through with this recommendation. This change will make the Legacy Trail safer for all.