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HBPD focuses on enforcement, improper passing

By Merab-Michal Favorite, Islander Reporter

An HBPD patroloficer makes a traffic stop on Marina Drive Feb. 5. Islander Photo: Merab-Michal Favorite

The Holmes Beach Police Department is looking out for motorists who use improper passing techniques while driving.

At a Jan. 28 city commission meeting, Chief Bill Tokajer said he and members of the department would be “strictly enforcing” any illegal passing methods, a violation that carries a fine of $166.

If you travel East Bay Drive, passing Walgreens, Publix and CVS, and use the center turn lane only for turning, to avoid traffic or to make a green light, you’ll likely get a ticket.

Motorists who drive in any center lane for an extended distance are subject to ticketing.

Tokajer also will be looking for people who pass a vehicle on the right side, using the bicycle lane, shoulder or unpaved right of way to pass.

“Passing someone on the right side is a major safety hazard for bicyclists and pedestrians,” he said at the meeting.

Under Florida law, drivers are required to slow down — under the posted speed by 20 mph — when an emergency vehicle or tow truck passes with its emergency lights on.

He said HBPD also would be looking to ticket drivers who violate that law.

Tokajer said that before the HBPD begins enforcing common traffic violations, it attempts to educate the community through the media, meetings and its web presence.

Last month the HBPD issued 84 traffic citations, 32 parking tickets and 22 written warnings, according to the HBPD monthly report. They also worked 12 traffic crashes, a report states.

The HBPD also arrested 20 people on various charges in January — 14 were for alleged criminal traffic violations.

Officers last month responded to 214 calls, the report shows.

Tokajer said the HBPD increases enforcement activities during the nationwide Click It or Ticket campaign. During the most recent effort, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, HBPD officers issued 198 citations for various offenses.

Tokajer said that due to the proactive enforcement activities by HBPD officers during the campaigns, the department received about $19,000 in new equipment at no cost to the city.

The funding provided the department with two dual antenna moving radar units, two laser speed measurement units and a portable breath-test unit from the Florida Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Florida Law Enforcement Liaison Program.

One Response to HBPD focuses on enforcement, improper passing

  1. Paula Olivero says:

    Congrats to HBPD for looking out for the safety of not only motorists but of pedestrians and bicyclists. Unfortunately, many motorists are more concerned with getting somewhere fast than the safety of those around them. The island is a laid back relaxing place and this enforcement will help to get the message across. Reducing the speed limit all over the island to 25 mph or 30 mph would also help. As a bicyclist I encounter motorists who push the current speed limit dispite people trying to cross the street or ride the bike path. Taking a look at the speed limit would also be welcomed by those enjoying the island life. Thank you HBPD!

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