ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – St. Petersburg police kicked off a campaign to save lives on some of the city’s most dangerous roads. The city is already reporting more people killed in traffic accidents compared to last year.
Last year, 7 pedestrians died on city streets, but this year that number has doubled. It’s not just St. Pete seeing these vicious accidents. On Wednesday morning, another pedestrian died after getting hit over the weekend in Treasure Island. Police are hoping making traffic stops will stop the fatalities.
In St. Petersburg, 4th Street North gets a lot of foot and wheel traffic. 8 On Your Side caught a lot of people taking the risk and crossing between intersections outside marked crosswalks and several cyclists riding at night with no lights on their bikes.
“There’s definitely more cars out on the road than there was last year so that certainly going to be a factor,” said Sgt. Michael Schade with the St. Petersburg Police Department.
St. Pete police are focused on this stretch of pavement, stopping driver after driver who has forgotten some basic safety rules of the road and who they share it with.
“We really want to make sure that cars are stopping at red lights, stopping at stop signs, not blocking crosswalks,” Sgt. Schade said.
Not just drivers though, pedestrians are reminded to cross in well-lit and marked intersections, and one young mom even gets a free light for her bike from one of the officers.
All of this educational enforcement is thanks to a $47,000 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation, hoping to drop the number of traffic fatalities in 2021. The City of St. Pete has already seen more than last year, at 37.
In the end, police can only do so much.
“I get it. I know why they’re doing it, but it’s on you. Police can’t really stand out here and make sure you don’t get hit,” said Diego Harris who runs on 4th St. often at night.
These types of enforcement will be going on until May along other marked streets deemed to be dangerous. That includes handing out more pamphlets to drivers and pedestrians, and lights to those on bikes riding in the dark.