75ºF

Pedestrian safety measure heads to full House

File photo
File photo

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Flashing yellow crosswalk lights would have to be converted to red or be removed, under a bill ready to go to the full House.

The proposal (HB 1371), which unanimously passed the House State Affairs Committee on Thursday, would require that flashing lights at pedestrian-only crossings be updated to red or removed on roads with more than two lanes or where the speed limit is higher than 35 mph.

Bill sponsor Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, said it’s not second nature for drivers to stop at yellow lights.

“If you look at our muscle memory, we are programmed that when we see a stop sign or a red light that, ‘Oh, I have to stop.’ We don’t have that same reaction when we see a flashing yellow light,” Fine said.

The legislation came after the December death of a 12-year-old Brevard County girl, Sophia Nelson. She was hit by a car while using a mid-block crosswalk on Florida A1A in Satellite Beach.

“Those crosswalks are unsafe, and they give a false sense of security,” said Jill Nelson, Sophia’s mother. “We want to honor our daughter and her legacy and try to save other people from ever going through what we have had to go through.”

The Senate version (SB 1000), sponsored by Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, has cleared two committees.