Rectangular flashing beacons are an example of safety equipment added to engineer more safety at pedestrian crossings.
CLEARWATER - According to Peter Hsu of the Florida Department of Transportation, the roads were a little safer in Pinellas County last year, particularly for pedestrians and motorcyclists.
Speaking recently to the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization, Hsu said there was a 33 percent reduction in pedestrian fatalities and a 39 percent reduction in motorcycle fatalities in Pinellas County from 2012 to 2013.
These reductions contributed to an overall 3 percent reduction in statewide traffic fatalities in the same year.
He credited the reductions to a district-wide program focusing on engineering, enforcement and education strategies. They include the installation of audible vibratory pavement markings, rapid flashing beacons at midblock crosswalks, pedestrian countdown signals, roadway safety audits and follow-up improvements, an education outreach safety campaign and grant funds allocated to assist local police in the enforcement of pedestrian laws.
Hsu said 49 percent of last yearís reduction in Tampa Bay traffic fatalities (39) occurred in Pinellas County (19). He said Pinellas County also had a 39 percent drop in motorcycle fatalities in 2013, going from 23 in 2012 to 14 a year later.
Pedestrian fatalities dropped 33 percent, from 30 to 20.
Bicycle fatalities dropped minimally in the Tampa Bay area from 10 to 9.
Across Florida, traffic fatalities dropped 2.9 percent from 2,427 to 2,357. One of the stateís worst years in that category was 2006 when 3,365 deaths occurred.