21 April 2011

Jaywalking: People in a Hurry

Lately I found this interesting article in the St. Petersburg Times about a crackdown by St. Petersburg Police on jaywalking in front of St. Petersburg High School, located on 5 Av N east of 28 St N. At least St. Petersburg Police is doing something about an all too familiar traffic issue: Pedestrians crossing the street wherever they want rather than using the crosswalks and pedestrian traffic signals that are designed for crossing streets safely.

As I commented on this St. Petersburg Times article, jaywalking is not just restricted to 5 Av N in front of St. Petersburg High School. Instead, it happens everywhere in St. Petersburg, especially downtown St. Petersburg.

The worst offender of jaywalking in downtown St. Petersburg I have seen are students that attend the Aveda Florida Institute, which is a hairstyling academy located on the northwest corner of 3 St S and 3 Av S. Every other time I drive up 3 St S on my way to work, I have seen from one Aveda student to a group of Aveda students cross 3 St S against the traffic signal, apparently in a hurry to get to class on time.

However, what these Aveda students are doing is against the law. It is a pedestrian violation pursuant to Section 316.130 and Section 316.075 of the Florida Statutes, quoting in part:

Section 316.075:

1(c)2.b Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian control signal as provided in s. 316.0755, pedestrians facing a steady red signal shall not enter the roadway.

Section 316.130:

(8) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.

(11) Between adjacent intersections at which traffic control signals are in operation, pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.

Perhaps St. Petersburg Police and who is in charge of Aveda Florida need to educate their students that crossing the street against the traffic signal is not the right thing to do. Perhaps a period of education followed by enforcement is the key; any one of these Aveda students won't be as happy when they get a ticket costing $62.50 for a pedestrian violation.

I have brought this issue to St. Petersburg Police several times. Something has to be done before there is a serious accident.

And for those Aveda Florida students in St. Petersburg that may be reading this blog entry, here is a word of advice quoting and paraphrasing a fellow St. Petersburg Times user whose name is cet1119:

To those students at Aveda Florida in downtown St. Petersburg who constantly jaywalk or go against the walk signal, you step out in traffic in front of MY car while I am lawfully driving, have a lawful green traffic signal and within the posted 30 mph speed limit on 3 St S, and you're not in a crosswalk or you have a red don't walk signal and dart across in a hurry to get to your class at Aveda on time, I may have to try to stop but if in the event you get hit as a result of your jaywalking, I am not getting a ticket and you, the Aveda Florida student, are not winning a lawsuit nor collecting off of my insurance. After all, it's called leaving a known zone of safety.

(And believe me - if an insurance company finds out that you did something negligent which results in an accident, the insurance company can use that to deny your claim).

Even if the worst happens and a pedestrian is involved in a pedestrian vs. motor vehicle accident and it is found that the pedestrian was at fault, the events can haunt a driver for months, even years, after the accident. This article from the St. Petersburg Times proves the point.

The question is this: Why are people in a hurry to begin with? Why will people go to dangerous extremes such as jaywalking to accomplish a specific goal such as being somewhere on time?


My Little Family: said...

All sorts of people jaywalk downdown St Pete. I believe the students you mention just stick out because they are in groups and all dressed in black.

Edward Ringwald said...

My Little Family, I agree with you 100 percent. I have seen all sorts of people jaywalk in downtown St. Petersburg, but it is the students from Aveda Florida that I have seen.

What really ticks me off is that these Aveda Florida students brazenly jaywalk across 3 St S in large groups. What is wrong here? Can't these Aveda Florida students wait for the next walk signal rather than take their chances breaking the law (and risk getting in an accident) in order to get to class on time?

Just recently I noticed St. Petersburg Police conducting a jaywalking enforcement blitz in downtown St. Petersburg. If the enforcement is being concentrated in the vicinity of Aveda Florida, I imagine these Aveda Florida students are somehow getting the message - in the form of a warning or a $62.50 ticket for a pedestrian violation.