FHP to target pedestrians and cyclists

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MANATEE COUNTY - On Friday night, Florida Highway Patrol troopers will be out in force conducting the second phase of Operation PEDS by targeting pedestrians and cyclists.

Operation Pedestrian Education and Developing Safety, or PEDS, is an initiative FHP launched in Manatee County after a record setting year in 2012 for pedestrian fatalities.

Now, they're hoping the operation will allow them to educate not only drivers, but also pedestrians, on the rules of the road and safety.

In 2012, FHP officials say there was a large spike in the number of pedestrian related crashes, with 12 fatalities in Manatee County alone.

In response, launching Operation PEDS is a way to educate the public about the dangers of violating pedestrian laws.

Troopers say for now the goal is to simply educate people about using crosswalks, drivers yielding to pedestrians, and making sure bicyclists know the laws they're to follow.

“The main focus is going to be giving warnings and education. We're going to have troopers who will be paired up along U.S. 41 between State Road 70 and Cortez Road and we're going to be monitoring the intersections, making sure the pedestrians are utilizing the cross walks properly and that the motorists are yielding to the pedestrians,” says Lt. Chris Miller of the Florida Highway Patrol.

Operation PEDS will go from 6 to 10 pm Friday. The plan is to have 8-10 troopers on foot on U.S. 41 talking with pedestrians. The third phase will focus on enforcement.