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Pinellas Park police beef up patrols to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety

Pinellas County

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (WFLA) – The Pinellas Park Police Department has a new initiative to promote pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

The agency has partnered with the Florida Department of Transportation and the University of North Florida to provide high visibility enforcement details (HVE) from Feb. 22 through May 14.

Pinellas County is among the top 25 counties in the state of Florida for serious and deadly crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists, according to Pinellas Park police spokesman Sergeant John Shea.

“Unfortunately, we have a very congested roadway system in the county and there are multiple modes of transportation,” Shea said.

He told 8 On Your Side there’s been an increase in these types of crashes since the start of the pandemic.

“We saw a large increase in bicyclist traffic. Folks were trying to get out and do exercise, do things that are different than what their normal routine is simply just to get them out of the house. I think a lot of people have continued that, both walking and bicycle riding,” Shea said.

Drivers may notice additional patrols in problem areas such as US-19,66th Street, 49th Street and Park Boulevard.

In the past year, beacons were added along Park Boulevard to allow pedesrians to safely cross areas without intersections.

He said the new initiative is more about education than citations.

“A moving violation for a motor vehicle, the fine is $166 and for pedestrians and bicyclists, the fine is $62.50. We want to ultimately go out there and educate without the enforcement efforts of issuing those citations,” Shea said.

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