LOUISVILLE, Ky. — According to Louisville Metro Police, 19 people were killed in pedestrian-involved collisions with vehicles so far this year. A new ordinance in Louisville is looking to reduce the number of those tragedies.
The 'pedestrian safety' ordinance took effect Wednesday. Officers will fine jaywalkers and panhandlers who stand in the median or approach vehicles in the middle of the road up to $250.
"At the end of the day, it's to modify behavior that is unsafe," Lieutenant Ron Heady said. Police said it comes down to preventing tragedies that are avoidable.
"I call it vehicular engagement meaning how, when, and where someone engages with a vehicle and are they doing it in a safe manner," councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith said.
The ordinance requires everyone to use crosswalks at traffic signals. Groups who engage in fundraisers will have to follow Kentucky's Statute KRS 189.570.
In order to spread the word, officials organized an informational campaign having face-to-face conversations with violators.
"It consisted of engaging with them and advising them of their behavior being unsafe and is regulated in a lot of cases," Heady said. "There was some information handed out to those folks and downtown establishments."
Watch LMPD's discussion of the ordinance below:
Police say they will keep a close eye on certain areas.
"There are obviously some locations that are predominately more active than others," Heady said.
At the end of the day, Heady said this not about targeting a constitutionally protected activity.
"Panhandling is going to exist," Heady said. "Standing on the public right of way, on the sidewalk where it's safe, and where you're not entering the roadway -- there's no intervention at all."
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