A ban on begging, street vending and charity collections at major intersections makes this city the latest in Broward to take aim at roadside soliciting.

Officials say traffic safety motivated the police department to recommend the change, which takes effect Monday. That’s why the ordinance details Broward’s history of pedestrian deaths involving panhandlers and hawkers, said Assistant Chief of Police Ray Black, pointing out that 65 pedestrians died in 2007 in the county and citing a unsolved 2007 hit-and-run in which a newspaper vendor was killed.

“This is one of the most dangerous places for pedestrians in the county,” Black said. “We’re all challenged by the high volume of cars and pedestrian activity.”

On Monday, anyone a police officer spots “offering for sale any thing or service of any kind, or seeking any donation of any kind,” will be subject to a fine of up to $500 and maximum of 60 days in jail. The law applies to Pembroke Road, Miramar Parkway, South State Road 7, Red Road, Flamingo Road and University Drive.

Weston, Hollywood and Margate have also banned and limited solicitors in traffic, while Fort Lauderdale banned some kinds of soliciting on the beach. Palm Beach County and Oakland Park have run into criticism while trying to pass anti-soliciting laws, and St. Petersburg and the state of Florida, have passed laws only to be challenged in court.

Roadside soliciting, critics of the laws say, is a first amendment right, and laws aimed specifically at panhandling discriminate against the homeless.

SOURCE: Sun-Sentinel

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