There are lots of people in Ocean County during the summer months and that's absolutely a great thing for many reasons but with more people, everyone needs to double check their surroundings while driving and walking so that we can all have a safe, happy, and healthy summer.

In LBI towns like Harvey Cedars where there's a population boom in the summer months.

"In the wintertime in Harvey Cedars, the population is about 500 people. Now, in the summertime, it swells to about 10-12,000," Harvey Cedars Police Chief Robert Burnaford said as a guest on Sunday on 'Shore Time with Vin and Dave' on 94.3 The Point and 105.7 The Hawk. "Since Covid, more people starting moving down and spending more time down on the island and the Jersey Shore during the offseason. So, our wintertime population is certainly not 10 or 12,000 but it certainly has increased quite a bit."

The rise in population during the summer months in Harvey Cedars and the rest of Long Beach Island has led to some changes for safety for both drivers and pedestrians including along Long Beach Boulevard.

Beach in Harvey Cedars. (Vin Ebenau, Townsquare Media NJ)
Beach in Harvey Cedars. (Vin Ebenau, Townsquare Media NJ)

"In the wintertime where you have 45-mph in most of the zones in Harvey Cedars, and also, the traffic lights are on blink. Then, roughly about a month ago -- it's an Ocean County road -- so the Ocean County Engineers office will come and A. turn the traffic lights on to operate normally and then to lower the speed limit from 45-mph to 35-mph and we have a small business district that goes to 30-mph," Chief Burnaford said. "For local people, it takes a little while to get used to, particularly the traffic lights."

With more people in Harvey Cedars during the summer there are some changes to speed limits but also more of a continued effort on the rules and guidelines for pedestrian and bike safety as well.

"In Harvey Cedars, it's a county road -- two lanes north, two lanes south -- and our shoulders are very, very narrow so in the summertime, particularly in the mornings when everyone's out doing their walking and biking and exercise, that becomes very problematic, so we do spend a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of communication throughout the year, in the offseason and in the summertime on bike safety, pedestrian safety," Chief Burnaford said.

To help in that effort, HCPD has worked with local businesses, taxpayers association, real estate agencies and others to help spread the message of safety and along with that, there has been a safety and visibility enforcement campaign in the borough with police officers in traffic vests at some of the intersections.

"We're not out there to write tickets, we're out there to keep everybody safe," Chief Burnaford. "We're big proponents of educating first."

Rules of the road are not just for drivers and vehicles, there for pedestrians and people riding their bikes as well.

Boat on the beach in Harvey Cedars. (Vin Ebenau, Townsquare Media NJ)
Boat on the beach in Harvey Cedars. (Vin Ebenau, Townsquare Media NJ)

"One law that a lot of bicyclists forget about is they have to follow the rules of the road," Chief Burnaford said. "If a bicyclist is going down Long Beach Boulevard and they come up to a red light, they're supposed to stop, and, so, if they don't stop and they go through the red light -- can't do that, it's very dangerous."

You may seen almost anywhere with people darting out across the road outside of a crosswalk to get to the other side, but it's dangerous and a big safety issue, which is why whether you're in a car or on foot, you need to follow the rules of the road.

"As a pedestrian, if you're going to cross the road at an intersection -- some people, just kind of walk out, forgetting that the vehicle needs to be safe and travel at a speed safe enough to stop -- that's a State Law -- in Harvey Cedars, when you have four lanes of traffic, two or three of those vehicles might see you and might stop and you can't assume that that fourth lane is going to stop," Chief Burnaford said. "It's very dangerous, so we always urge people, in that situation, to walk to the nearest traffic light to help you cross safely."

You, as a pedestrian, may get a ticket for not following the rules.

"Depending on the situation, at the officers discretion, they could issue a summons for failure to cross at a crosswalk. You kind of take every situation differently depending on what the factors are of that accident, so hopefully, we don't have many accidents, but that's why we spend a lot of time on the education of that law," Chief Burnaford said.

Don't Drive Distracted, Don't Drive Drunk, Don't Drive Under The Influence in Harvey Cedars or anywhere else in New Jersey.

Beach in Harvey Cedars. (Vin Ebenau, Townsquare Media NJ)
Beach in Harvey Cedars. (Vin Ebenau, Townsquare Media NJ)

There's no need to race or do anything that puts your safety and anyone else's safety at risk, if it takes you a few extra minutes to get where you need to get to, than that's what it'll have to be this summer.

"If it takes you an extra five minutes, ten minutes -- just get there safely," Chief Burnaford said. "Whether you're walking, you're biking, you're driving -- just keep your head on a swivel, be vigilant, don't assume that the other person knows what you're doing or vice versa -- get there safely, take your time."

If you know you're going to be drinking, that's fine, but it's important to hands the keys to someone else, find alternate modes of transportation, or just stay put this summer.

"Whether it's a vehicle traveling too slow -- it's 35-mph but you have a vehicle traveling at 20-mph -- that sticks out. If you have a vehicle that's failing to maintain their lane -- and that's why we ask people to never drive under the influence, I mean you have Uber and all the driving apps you can use," Chief Burnaford said. "Also, on Long Beach Island, we have a shuttle program. There's so many means of getting from Point-A to Point-B without traveling under the influence. It's really upsetting when you do encounter that."

Beach and Water safety are just as important as well this summer in Harvey Cedars, LBI, and the rest of the Jersey Shore.

Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol pick-up truck. (Vin Ebenau, Townsquare Media NJ)
Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol pick-up truck. (Vin Ebenau, Townsquare Media NJ)

Whether you're building a sand castle, swimming, riding the waves, or just enjoying the beach and ocean generally speaking, it's important to play it safe.

"You always want to swim near a lifeguard, in Harvey Cedars, the lifeguards are on duty from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm," Chief Burnaford said. "A few years, ago Chief of Beach Operations Randy Townsend started an after hours program where we have a lifeguard or two that patrol the beaches until 8:00 pm because a lot of people -- they like to go swimming when the lifeguards aren't there but we don't advise of doing that. The ocean conditions are always changing. Every town, every beach patrol has a different set of flag systems, but in Harvey Cedars, you have the lifeguard chair and then on either side of that, you have yellow flags or red flags. You'll never see a green flag -- the reason is because the ocean is never 100-percent safe. Yellow is always for caution and of course if there's a red flag, you won't be swimming that day anyway."

If you're unsure of the conditions, what to do, where to go -- just go up and ask the lifeguards.

You can listen to the full conversation Dave Crossan and I had with Harvey Cedars Police Chief Robert Burnaford on 'Shore Time with Vin and Dave', right here.

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