Pedestrian road crossings: what is the law?
OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - It’s a complicated issue having deadly consequences - crossing the street. Is crossing the road anywhere other than inside a marked crosswalk illegal? Sometimes officials said, it can be hard to tell.
Under Florida State Statute 316.130, every pedestrian crossing the road “at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles.” A “noncriminal traffic” ticket can be given out to those who don’t use crosswalks. It’s a law that many in north-central Florida are not following.
For two hours while TV20 pursued this story Thursday, we saw dozens of people crossing the road illegally all-around Ocala. During that time, only one person correctly used the crosswalk. They waited for the signal and stayed within the crosswalk.
Ocala police officers said, Eugene “Eddie” Aldrich, 90, died while trying to cross the road. According to the traffic homicide report, the driver of a Dodge vehicle said she was driving westbound on E Silver Springs Blvd. in heavy traffic. She told police she was attempting to move from the outside lane to the inside lane.
Aldrich was standing in the center turn lane and stepped out in front of her.
The right side of the car hit the man, the report states, “vaulting him off the fender and into the roadway.” She said she never saw him. He was taken to HCA Floria Ocala Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“We saw him get hit. He was at that telephone pole and he flew probably 20 feet in the air and landed in the grass,” said Alan Hill, remembering his friend.
At NE 22nd Ave. and E Silver Springs Blvd., where the crash happened, there is no obvious crosswalk.
Ocala Marketing and Communications Manager, Ashley Dobbs wrote via email, that since E Silver Springs Blvd. is a state road (SR40), the city does not have jurisdiction, so pedestrians must follow state law. The city does, however, operate at least two “signalized crosswalks” at NE 19th Ave. and NE 25th Ave. “that provide[s] a legally safe point of crossing SR 40,” Dobbs wrote.
“This isn’t the first time he’s gotten hit. Five years ago he broke his leg,” Hill said.
Public Information Officer for the Ocala Police Department, Jeff Walczak told TV20 that this is the fourth traffic-related death so far this year. (Not all of those accidents have involved pedestrians.)
6 pedestrian crashes in 2021, 4 of which were fatal.
11 pedestrian crashes in 2020, 10 of which were fatal. One of the 10 the person was on the sidewalk.
6 pedestrian crashes in 2019, all were fatal.
Walczak wrote via email, that the “majority of the pedestrian crashes are pedestrians crossing improperly.” In this case, technically there is an unmarked crosswalk where Aldrich was trying to cross, where drivers are supposed to yield, but officers said it was too hard to tell if he was right or wrong.
Walczak added that pedestrians should think carefully and, “not walk out in front of a moving car in hopes that it stops,” he wrote.
Ocala police officers shared news of the crash on Facebook. The post was uploaded at 5:04 p.m. Wednesday and has garnered more than 200 comments and 65 shares.
Copyright 2022 WCJB. All rights reserved. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.