Warnings have been circulating on social media about a police crackdown against jaywalkers in Jacksonville.
It’s true, jaywalkers may be more likely to get ticketed this month and next. Lauri-Ellen Smith, Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Public spokeswoman, said more officers are out looking for illegal crossers.
Crossing against the signal and not utilizing available crosswalks are a couple of offenses officers are citing.
But she said officers are also stopping bicyclists and motorists.
“For bicyclists, ... riding in the wrong direction,” she said. “For the motorists, improper passing, failure to yield to pedestrians and bicycles that have the right of way.”
JSO is using a Florida Department of Transportation grant of $51,646 to pay officers overtime to educate, warn and ticket pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists who aren’t following traffic laws. It's part of the Alert Today Alive Tomorrow safety initiative.
“We’ll never know the lives saved by citing people, but it’s much better than the alternative – a traffic fatality,” Smith said. “Or having to live with the knowledge that you, as a motorist, hit a cyclist or pedestrian – regardless of who was at fault. People would rather have the ticket instead of a tragic and avoidable outcome.”
JSO is focusing in four areas with a high number of crashes and fatalities, including downtown, Philips Highway near Baymeadows Road, 103rd Street and University Boulevard West.
Smith said of 2015’s pedestrian crash fatalities, more of the pedestrians were at fault than the drivers.
In addition to citations, officers are providing free safety lights for bicycles.
Beginning in the next couple weeks, citations will be the focus through the end of next month.