ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- St. Petersburg Police are cracking down on bikers and walkers breaking the rules of the road. Starting Tuesday, officers kicked off a five-month-long high visibility enforcement campaign.
Over the next several weeks, officers will look for unsafe behaviors of drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists and give-out warnings and road safety pamphlets.
In March, they’ll switch to tickets including $62.50 fines for walkers not using a crosswalk and bikers darting across the road without a green light. The idea is to change the behaviors of the pedestrians, drivers, and cyclists.
Officers spent the day Tuesday enforcing 5th Avenue North between Martin Luther King and 16th Street North. Wednesday they will target a portion of Central Avenue.
An FDOT grant is paying for the enforcement. They’re desperate for a solution to decrease pedestrian deaths. Florida’s pedestrian death rate is twice as high as the national average.
In St. Pete alone, there were 31 fatal crashes 2016. 14 involved pedestrians. So far in 2017, there have been 25 fatal crashes, 10 involving pedestrians. That's a total of 24 pedestrains killed in 2016 and 2017 (to date). Between the two years, an average 73% of the pedestrians who were killed were not in a crosswalk.
Following other high visibility campaigns, FDOT surveyed people who were warned or ticketed and found many of them said it encouraged them to change their behavior.