MAYPORT, Fla. – Jacksonville police have increased their presence in Mayport a day after a child was hit by a vehicle while riding his bicycle to school.
Officers said the boy, around 13 years old, was struck about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday on Mayport Road in between Mayport Coastal Sciences Middle School and Seaside Charter School.
Police said the child was taken to the hospital in serious condition but is expected to be OK. The driver was cited for failing to yield.
A day later, a News4Jax viewer spotted a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office traffic officer in the area with a radar gun. A JSO community service officer was helping direct traffic and escort children across the road.
“It’s a dangerous road,” said neighbor Kiri Lloyd.
She’s complained for years about dangerous driving around school zones on Mayport Road. The child was struck just yards from her driveway.
“What happened yesterday to that child should’ve never happened,” she said as a car with loud exhaust sped by. “Like that, proof right there. Cars speeding by, don’t even care that they’re not even doing the speed limit.”
David Wilson had just dropped his children off at Seaside Charter when the Wednesday’s crash happened.
“I see several dads running. I see a car in the road, and it looks like there’s somebody under the car,” he said. “I just started running, too.”
The group got the boy out and kept him calm until rescue got there, but Wilson said it should’ve never happened.
“If it’s a phone, if it’s a radio, whatever you’ve got going on, it is not worth it,” he said. “It doesn’t take but a split second for a serious accident to happen.”
Lt. Shannon Hartley, who is in charge of JSO’s traffic unit on this side of town, confirmed an increased police presence in the area due to safety concerns.
“The officer, after the event yesterday, he came out this morning and he told me that he was very productive,” he said. “He wrote numerous citations today. That shouldn’t be the case.”
Hartley said the community service officer will now be here to help keep children safe daily, filling in for the time being because of a crossing guard shortage. However, he points out it’s the driver’s responsibility to keep this from happening again.
“We would hope that more people would pay attention to that not because of the fines or because of the points assessment, but because these are school zones,” he noted. “Our most vulnerable population is walking or riding bicycles in these zones every single day.”
Duval County residents can report traffic safety concerns directly to JSO here: https://www.jaxsheriff.org/Bizforms/Traffic-Complaints.aspx.