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Ask The Times: Answers on pedestrian laws and bridge jumping
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If you’ve been wondering about something in your community, Ask The Times is your place to get it answered. The following questions were submitted by readers and answered through the efforts of our news staff.

Why don’t the police enforce proper pedestrian crossing? Also, why is it allowable for officers not to obey traffic laws?

The Gainesville Police Department Patrol Traffic Services Unit does monitor pedestrian crossing where they have received complaints from the public, according to Maj. Paul Sherman with the department.

The law recently changed so that drivers must stop and stay stopped for pedestrians, not just yield to them, he added.

Pedestrians also should not suddenly leave a curb or walk or run into the path of a vehicle, making it difficult for the driver to yield.

Emergency vehicles are allowed to proceed past a red light or stop sign but only after slowing down in order to do so safely, according to Georgia Law 40-6-6.

While responding to an emergency, officers operating emergency vehicles may exceed the speed limit so long as they are not endangering life or property, Sherman said.

There is an area on the Gainesville side of Browns Bridge that bridge jumpers and others gather at. It is very crowded and a safety hazard. Is bridge jumping allowed? If not, how do the authorities enforce rules against it?
According to Hall County ordinance 10.50.010, jumping off bridges is prohibited

“No person shall voluntarily jump off, dive off, leap off, fall off, swing off, flip off or in any manner leave the structure of any public bridge within the county, except in a manner otherwise expressly allowed by law,” the ordinance reads.

The county marshal or any other authorized law enforcement officer can arrest and cite anyone who violates that ordinance.

Violators will appear in magistrate court and punishment could include a fine and/or jail time.

An exception to the rule applies if someone jumps from the bridge in order to protect their welfare or that of anyone else.

Do you have a question you’d like our news team to answer? Contact us at:
askthetimes@gainesvilletimes.com, facebook.com/gainesvilletimes, @gtimes

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