Crashes nearly doubled over Thunder Beach weekend

Published: May. 5, 2022 at 6:56 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Thunder Beach Spring Rally rode out last weekend, and it seems it could have been the biggest bike rally Panama City Beach has ever had.

Panama City Beach Police officers called for backup to handle the crowds.

“Panama City, Bay County, Lynn Haven, are some of the few that do come and help,” Lieutenant Tommy Anderson said.

With tens of thousands of bikers riding the roads, Anderson said they expected a few more wrecks than usual.

“We say it all the time but anytime there’s a large amount of people that come to town, you know the numbers of things that we investigate or all called to increase as well,” Anderson said.

According to PCBPD, officers responded to about 70 crashes over the weekend. That’s quite a few more than the 44 crashes they saw over the Fall Rally weekend, and the 36 they saw on a regular weekend in mid-April.

“We police paradise so yeah it’s worth it,” Anderson said. “People come here and have a good time and as long as they follow the rules and they’re safe then everybody wins.”

And the rules were enforced heavily this year.

“New chief, new strategies. We, you know, played around with deployment, manpower strategies, heavy traffic enforcement,” Anderson said.

Officers wrote more than 230 citations, which is triple what they wrote in the fall, and double what they wrote the weekend of April 15th.

Anderson said keeping people alert is key.

Officers said there were no fatalities on city roadways. But, there was one motorcycle fatal crash in the unincorporated area of the beach, near Thomas Drive.

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