Grant funds pedestrain safety measures on US 41

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Traffic along U.S. 41 in North Port can be hectic, but for people on their bicycles, it can simply be dangerous.

"People don't stop at the stop signs, they pull right out," said bicyclist Dale Logsdon. "You have to stop, kind of make nose, honk your horn. Do whatever you can do to get their attention."

Since 2011, there's been 23 accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists along U.S. 41 in North Port. Some have been fatal. Many could have been avoided.

Officer Justin Cauffman has seen a lot of close calls.

"When you've got a bunch of pedestrians, bicyclists and motor vehicles it tends to sometimes be a traffic hazard," he said.

Because of the high number of accidents, North Port police received a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation and The University of South Florida. The High Visibility Enforcement program is aimed to increase awareness of pedestrian, bicycle and motor vehicle safety through education and enforcement.

North Port police will assign officers to major intersections where they've seen an increase in traffic crashes or pedestrian accidents. Officers will keep an eye out for violators and hand out warnings or tickets.

"What we try to do is monitor the cross walk, make sure the pedestrians and bicyclists are obeying the laws and regulations," said Officer Cauffman.

The program starts on January 1. Other agencies involved include Sarasota PD, Bradenton PD, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Tampa PD, Temple Terrace PD, University of South Florida PD, Clearwater PD, Largo PD, Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, Pinellas Park PD, and the St. Petersbrug Police Department.