Brandy Mamo, a sophomore majoring in communication sciences and disorders, got a $50 traffic ticket while at USF and she wasnt even behind the wheel.
Mamo said she was walking from the Psychology building when she reached a crosswalk at the corner of Holly Drive and North Palm Drive, and pressed the crosswalk signal button.
I pressed the button and nothing changed, she said. So I looked around and there still werent any cars around, so I started to cross the crosswalk, but then another car pulled up, so then I waited for the car to go and then I went right away.
Because she was listening to her iPod at the time, Mamo said she almost didnt stop when the officer waved her down after another jaywalker.
Then he said, You have to stand behind this young man, Mamo said. And hes like, Youre going to get a ticket for jaywalking and I was like, What?
University Police (UP) handed out 29 jaywalking tickets to pedestrians in March and part of February, according to a UP report, the first time they had ever done so.
On Feb. 28, UP posted a message on its Facebook alerting students that they would be conducting an aggressive pedestrian crosswalk violation enforcement campaign. Pedestrians include those on foot, skates, skateboards and bicycles who are utilizing sidewalks and crosswalks, according to Florida statues.
UP spokesman Lt. Chris Daniel said the new enforcement is in place to better protect motorists and pedestrians from getting into traffic accidents.
I think in a number of these incidents, its not only the vehicle driving thats at fault, he said. The pedestrian has a responsibility, and it becomes a violation if a pedestrian does walk out in an intersection or crosswalk when its not safe to do so.
Daniel said other methods of reducing accidents and promoting traffic safety have been explored and implemented, but were not effective.
We had had a number of conflicts with vehicles and pedestrians, he said. And despite the fact that we tried to put out educational information … we found they were still on the rise.
UP handed out information to students in residence halls and sent out Facebook and email messages about pedestrian and motorist safety. An event was also held at the Marshall Student Center to promote traffic, pedestrian and bicycle safety, Daniel said.
Yet he said UP could not find an effective way to stop jaywalking until they started handing out tickets.
Sometimes the only time that people pay attention is when theyre being flagged down, and its unfortunate we had to get to that point, he said.
Daniel said he thinks the roads are already safety now that jaywalking is being enforced.
I have noticed since we did the enforcement that people are stopping at crosswalks and not just walking without a crosswalk, he said. Accidents seem to have declined. I dont have any data to back that up yet, but Im personally noticing while driving around campus that people seem to be respecting the pedestrian-driver relationship.
Yet Mamo said UP cannot catch everyone, and she saw at least one other person cross the street without waiting for the right-of-way without being ticketed.
Once (the officer) got done giving the first guy a ticket, another person (jaywalked), she said. So me and the kid were upset, so were like, Why didnt he give that guy a ticket? Then the other kid got his ticket and walked away, because he was really pissed off.
She said she probably wont fight the ticket, despite initially considering it.
I was trying to set a court date because I had the option to fight it, but it was only $50 and I guess I did something wrong, she said. But at the same time, maybe you should get in the (police) car to flag someone down. Maybe that would make people more aware that (theyre) going to use the crosswalk … or intersection to give people tickets for walking.