PANAMA CITY Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City Police Department is going to be a lot more active about enforcing traffic laws.
Bay County is one of the top 25 counties in the state for traffic crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists.
Over the last few years, there is been a big increase in foot traffic. St. Andrews is just one of the areas PCPD will be concentrating its efforts.
“I’m hoping that we don’t have to tell any more families their loved ones aren’t coming home because they were hit by a car or run over on a bicycle,’ said Corporal Preston Allyn with PCPD.
Allyn and other officers just completed four hours of refresher training on bicycles and pedestrian regulations. It is part of a new campaign to keep those people safer on the city’s streets.
“Those officers can enforce, or educate the people in certain areas that we have the high number of traffic crashes that involve pedestrians and bicycles,” he said.
The enforcement effort starts this weekend and runs through May. The local department is recieving the Florida Department of Transportation funding to pay for officers overtime. They will focus on areas prone to pedestrian and bicycle crashes.
“Highway 98, especially at night, nighttime is a big deal when you get around that bar district,” said Allyn.
Three people have died in Panama City in pedestrian or bicycle crashes since January 2020. Officers are asking drivers to limit distractions and look out for potential dangers.
“Anticipate that person that’s on the sidewalk is going to walk out, that they aren’t paying attention,” said Allyn.
Those who speed, ignore traffic signals, or get caught using their cell phones can expect a ticket. Police are just asking drivers to pay more attention to their surroundings. Keep an eye out for pedestrians in congested areas like this one. Especially ones not using the cross-walks, because they may not be looking out for you.