TAMPA (FOX 13) - An Ohio mother and her toddler, were struck and killed on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa last week. Soon after the horrific crash, Tampa police said the victims were legally crossing, despite no clearly defined, or marked, crosswalk, at the intersection.
Officer Roy Paz with the Tampa Police Department explained on Good Day Tampa Bay that even though there were no thick, white lines painted on the road or a traffic signal, the intersection must be treated as a crosswalk.
“Every intersection is considered a crosswalk, whether it is marked or unmarked. I hope everyone follows me with that so far,” Officer Roy said, before reiterating, “Every intersection is a crosswalk.”
According to Florida law, if pedestrians finds themselves between two intersections that are lit with traffic signals, and there are no other street intersections in the middle of it, the pedestrians are required to walk to one of those two intersections to cross.
However, if a pedestrian wants to cross a long stretch of road, such as Bayshore Boulevard, then it’s legal to cross, Officer Roy said, but the pedestrian must cross the street in a straight line, and not diagonally, to reach the other side. Pedestrians also cannot just step out in front of traffic, they must allow time for cars to come to a complete stop.
In the case of the deadly Tampa crash, the mother and child were crossing at West Knights Avenue, Tampa police said, which intersects Bayshore Boulevard, making it an intersection, and creating an unmarked crosswalk.
“Unfortunately, there were circumstances involved that there was nothing that pedestrian possibly could have done in that situation, but they are allowed to cross,” Officer Roy said. Tampa police said witnesses told them two vehicles were seen street racing. One struck the victims, leading to the arrest of three people, police said.
“Bottom line is everybody has to watch out for each other out there,” he added. “Pedestrians, you can cross in the crosswalk but you just can’t step out ...You got to look. Make sure there are no cars coming and you have to obey the traffic control devices out there.”