Best Foot Forward Steering Committee members in Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties met last month to identify troublesome crosswalks to start monitoring, enforcing and engineering to make them safer for people crossing. One of them just so happens to be right at the corner of our offices. We got a first had view of the number of cars that just drive on by with pedestrians in the crosswalk attempting to cross the road. So many drivers have no idea the legal rules for using a crosswalk.
Florida Statute states a vehicle approaching a pedestrian legally crossing the street at an intersection must yield or stop to allow the person walking to cross. This applies to bicyclists as well as motor vehicle drivers. If you fail to yield, drivers face a minimum citation of $164 and three points on their driver’s license. Worse, you can severely injury someone – even taking their life.
So how do you find out what is right and what is wrong. First off cars should always side on caution. If someone is not supposed to be on the road and is. You should still slow down and stop instead of attempting to speed around them or pass them before they get to you. Cool fact is that there is no “jaywalking” law in Florida. it is not even a legal term in any Florida statute and no legal meaning.
Law enforcement has worked with organizations like Bike/Walk Central Florida to address these issues. You can learn about the Best Foot Forward program and which crosswalks are on the list at Iyield4peds.org. According to their website: “We all share the responsibility to keep our roadways safe. To save lives, we have to watch out for each other. On average in Central Florida, about 980 pedestrians are seriously injured and 90 people are killed each year trying to do something as simple and necessary as cross the street. Best Foot Forward is the largest grassroots coalition in the country aimed at reducing serious pedestrian injuries and fatalities through education, engineering, enforcement and evaluation. The success of the Best Foot Forward movement depends on every resident, neighborhood group and community coming together to change the culture of conflict between walkers and drivers.”
In May Tiberius from The Tiberius Show will be interviewing Bike/Walk Central Florida’s Executive Director, Emily Hanna about her role in raising awareness to the issue and how you can get involved. We need solutions so that Central Florida can lose the title as one of the most dangerous places in the country for a pedestrian or cyclist to cross a street.