Do you know our Pedestrian Laws?

Where is it legal to cross the street? When do you as a motorist have the obligation to yield to a pedestrian (who would be at fault in a crash)? What is a crosswalk and are they only at signals? Do they have to be marked in order to constitute a crosswalk?

A couple months ago I developed a quiz to use at a local conference. The results, among a group who should know the rules better than average citizens, revealed serious knowledge gaps. As a result, and because Jacksonville has such a poor safety record for pedestrians (we are ranked between 1 and 5 of the most unsafe cities in the U.S. in each of the past several years) I am urging the implementation of a public education campaign on pedestrian and bicycle rules of the road.

You may have encountered the flashing lights at a pedestrian crosswalk on a local road. These signals, activated only when a pedestrian pushes the button, are designed to generally keep traffic moving but provide a safe way for someone to cross the street when needed. One “RRFB” crosswalk was installed on St. Augustine Road at Galicia. A recently completed City study has prioritized the next 88 locations for these types of signal devices. Currently, our budget has funded 10 for next year however there is a desire among several Council members to increase that number to 20 per year.

One of the safety, and educational, challenges we have faced is the lack of marked or signalized crosswalks. With no clearly designated place to cross a roadway within a reasonable walking distance of a destination such as a park or bus stop, pedestrians have crossed wherever was convenient. That has left drivers of vehicles with no clear expectation other than constant vigilance- which of course has been eroded by texting in recent years. No doubt, the issue of texting while using the roadway by any mode is a contributor to the grim statistics. But, that issue does not explain our ranking compared to other cities and we must work to make our roadways safer for everyone.

SO have some fun and test your knowledge!  The gray lines represent sidewalks- and where they cross the road, a change in pavement material such as pavers. The black lines are roadways, the clusters of dots are signals. The boxes with letters indicate locations along the main roadway. At each location, you are asked to decide if there is a crosswalk, if the location is a legal place for a pedestrian to cross (could they be ticketed for crossing here), and who must yield- the motorist or the pedestrian.

In order to make this more like the Sunday crossword puzzle- the answers are in another article.

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