Port St. Lucie Police Department to start next phase of program to improve safety for bikers, pedestrians

Since September, Port St. Lucie police have been patrolling specific corridors with high numbers of pedestrian and bicyclist crashes. It’s called the high visibility enforcement program. Come February, they’ll be expanding it, targeting more intersections. The high visibility enforcement program is funded by the Florida Department of Transportation. The extra dollars cover overtime, special training, and make it possible for more officers to be on the roads, specifically where there are higher numbers of bicyclist and pedestrian crashes. “In Florida, St. Lucie County ranks in the top 25 for serious injuries and or fatalities involving pedestrians and bicycle safety. ” Port St. Lucie police chief Richard Del Toro Jr. “So that’s made it a priority for us to get involved get a little funding from the state so we can focus on some directed enforcement in these areas.”The program is already underway in corridors that the department calls “Tier 1” locations, including Southwest Gatlin Boulevard, from I-95 to Southwest Fondura Boulevard.Starting in February, you can expect to see more police at “Tier 2” locations, including Southwest Bayshore Boulevard, from Southwest Lakehurst Drive to Northwest Marion Avenue. That will last through May.Bicyclist Kevin Clark rides one of the “Tier 2″ locations of Southwest Savona Boulevard and SW Gatlin Boulevard and says vigilance is key.”I’ve been riding bikes most of my life and you need to be aware of your surroundings,” Clark said. “You can’t really judge on what somebody is going to do.” His sentiments aligned with those of the police chief.”Everybody needs to be paying attention. Stay off your phones. Use designated crosswalks. Always look both ways before crossing the roadways.” Del Toro said. “When you’re on a bicycle, you got to remember you’re just like a motor vehicle. You got to follow the laws and turn signals all those different things. The chief also encouraged bikers to use hand signals and wear helmets to increase visibility. “Anything that you can provide more safety to yourself until other drivers out here.”

Since September, Port St. Lucie police have been…

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