Recent hit-and-runs draw attention to pedestrian and bicyclist safety

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Pedestrian and bicyclist safety is a two-way street. For a tourist town like Panama City Beach, obeying street signs is crucial.

Bicyclists also need to obey the rules of the road. (WJHG/WECP)

"Even though we do have a crosswalk out here, a lot of people are not paying attention as they're driving," Sharky's manager Chris Todd said.

Saturday, one woman was hit and killed by a car on Front Beach Road, drawing attention to an already important issue.

"It is a lot of traffic, the Beach gets busier and busier every year, and we need to take care of this," Todd said.

According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, from Okaloosa to Franklin Counties, 120 recorded pedestrian crashes have occurred in the first six months of 2019, and another 97 bicycle crashes.

In 2018, 240 pedestrian crashes and 125 bicycle crashes took place.

"If you're going to be a pedestrian walking on the roadways, make sure that you're obeying the pedestrian laws. Make sure that you're wearing reflective clothing or at least bright clothing," Florida Highway Patrol Troop A Lieutenant Eddie Elmore said.

Lieutenant Elmore said pedestrians often ignore designated crosswalks.

"It may seem very minor to the pedestrian to just cross a road wherever they feel like it, but these roads are designed for specific crossings, and they're safer if you do that," Lieutenant Elmore said.

Bicyclists also need to obey the rules of the road.

"Make sure you stay as far right as you can, make sure you have lights on your vehicle, [and] make sure your clothing is as bright as it can be," Lieutenant Elmore said.

Following these simple steps can be the difference in whether you make it home.

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