DUNEDIN, Fla. — A new way to help keep bicyclists safe is now installed on the Pinellas Trail in Dunedin.
After a cooperative project between FDOT, the City of Dunedin, Forward Pinellas and Pinellas County, the new technology has been added where the trail's intersects with State Road 580.
"I was very jazzed, even the workers were excited about coming out here and doing something about this street," said Larry Jaffe.
Jaffe owns The Scone Age Bakery and Cafe right on the intersection. He said he's heard a few near misses.
"Mostly I’m standing in there and you hear the brakes squeak and you come running out, and I’ve seen bike on the ground," Jaffe said.
According to FDOT data, from 2011 through 2019 there have been 11 bike crashes and six pedestrian crashes at Pinellas Trail and Skinner Boulevard, resulting in three severe injuries and seven incapacitating injuries.
Last week, crews completed the installation of a rectangular rapid flash beacon with a thermal traffic sensor. The county said the idea is to detect bicyclists on the trail approaching SR-580. The detection zone is from the bollards on the trail to SR-580. The thermal imaging detects and automatically activates the flashing lights.
FDOT said everything is still being tweaked. People are encouraged to push the crossing buttons to ensure there is no false detection.
"So far it’s been very helpful and I’ve noticed that people are slowing down more," said Jaffe.
FDOT said it's one of three test locations in Florida a consultant is conducting a before and after study on to determine its effectiveness.