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Reckless motorcyclists targeted in 10-hour crackdown on U.S. 19

CLEARWATER — Dozens of motorcyclists were cited over a 10-hour period in a crackdown on reckless driving, according to Clearwater police.

From 5 p.m. Wednesday to 3 a.m. Thursday, four agencies targeted roads north of the Clearwater city limits to the Pasco County line, but much of the focus was on U.S. 19. The Clearwater Police Department was joined by the Florida Highway Patrol, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and the Tarpon Springs Police Department.

Together, the agencies said they issued 31 citations for speeding — including seven bikers who were going more than 30 mph over the posted limit — as well as eight non-moving violations and nine criminal violations.

"Our goal is to make the streets of Clearwater safer for everyone — motorcyclists included," read a message posted by Clearwater police to its Facebook page.

Reaction on social media was mixed. Some, like Sean Patterson, supported the operation.

"As a motorcycle rider, I applaud all LEO agencies for cracking down on these unsafe riders," he wrote on Facebook. "There's a time and a place for everything. I've twisted the throttles on my bikes and enjoyed them. (U.S. 19) is not the place for it, no matter what time."

Others, thought police resources would be better spent on the drivers that motorcyclists have to share the road with.

"I commute daily up and down U.S. 19," Rachel Roland wrote on the Clearwater police Facebook post. "I'm personally not worried about bikers and what they do. I almost get side-swiped every day by distracted drivers or get held up in traffic because of accidents involving cars, not motorcycles. This concentrated effort to single out motorcyclists is a waste of time. LEOs should be more focused on pulling over people who can't keep their eyes on the road."

Contact Daniel Figueroa IV at Follow @danuscripts.