Floridians may be interested in learning that another pedestrian was recently killed while attempting to cross U.S. 19 in Pasco County. The accident happened near Mile Stretch Road on Jan. 8 when the 40-year-old woman tried to cross all six lanes of the highway without using a crosswalk.
Joann Duran, a nearby businessperson who works along that stretch of the highway, told news sources that she sees pedestrians crossing the highway in that area all of the time. According to her, many do not bother walking to nearby crosswalks to use them to cross the roadway. Corporal Michael Styers has been called to investigate both pedestrian and bicycle accidents occurring along U.S. 19 for years. He reports that in many of his investigations, the accidents occur in areas without crosswalks. In the woman’s case, she could have crossed the highway at a crosswalk that was just 200 yards away from where she attempted to cross.
Data from the Florida Highway Patrol shows that 21 pedestrians and three bicyclists were killed either attempting to cross U.S. 19 or walking along the side of it between 2011 and 2014. Because of the dangers of crossing the highway in that area, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office was awarded a grant from the Department of Transportation. With their grant funding, the sheriff’s department has initiated an educational campaign focused on raising pedestrians’ and cyclists’ awareness of the need to always cross the highway at marked crosswalks.
For her part, Joann Duran indicates that she believes the reason people tend to jaywalk in the area is simply out of laziness in not wanting to walk a little further to one of the available crosswalks that are nearby. From where the 40-year-old woman was killed, there are crosswalks both 200 yards to the south as well as 200 yards to the north at major, marked intersections. Corporal Styer reports that all law enforcement authorities can do is educate the public and focus on trying to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents and cyclist fatalities in the area. Unfortunately, he reports that doing so seems to be an uphill battle.