JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says traffic fatalities in Duval County are higher than they were last year at this time.
To date, the Sheriff’s Office has reported 128 traffic deaths in Jacksonville. The same time last year, that number was 109. That’s just over a 17% increase.
Notably, Officer Christian Hancock, with the Sheriff’s Office, said officers have been responding to more deaths involving pedestrians and motorcyclists. There have been 33 pedestrian deaths, compared to 24 last year.
“We’re are 32 this year and we were at 18 this time last year as far as motorcycles,” Hancock said.
Hancock said 12 of the 32 crashes are single-rider deaths.
“We’re seeing a lot of single rider fatalities on motorcycles with no cars being involved, meaning they’re riding beyond their abilities and, unfortunately, they’re hitting fixed objects like curbs, trees and the like,” he added.
JSO is working with other agencies to try to reduce the number of deadly crashes through a combination of education, enforcement and training.
“It doesn’t affect a lot of people until it affects those people personally. If it’s a family member or friend this happens to -- and then people wake up,” Hancock said.
Manny Rodriguez was killed while riding his motorcycle on Jan. 24 near Main and Union streets.
“He was also our roommate, our best friend, my son called him Uncle Manny. He was the light of the room,” said Jessica Herrin, founder of One Love See Us On 2s.
Herrin is now riding to raise awareness about motorcycle safety, asking drivers to keep an eye out for bikers on the roads.
“We love the feel of the wind and just being able to release and enjoy that ride, but it’s to the point that we fear getting on that bike that we may not come home to our children or our husbands and wives and brothers and sisters,” Herrin said.
The Sheriff’s Office said it’s offering resources like motorcycle training classes to the public in hopes they will reduce the number of crashes in Duval County.