Gainesville accident raises awareness for child safety

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Jan Jones lives on California Street. She said she constantly worries a child will get hit.

"All up and down here, everybody has kids," she said. "Kids or grandkids. It's just not a safe street."

And Monday night - that happened. A six-year-old girl on a bike collided with a pickup truck. But Gainesville Police said it wasn't the truck driver's fault.

"It would be the bicyclist for failing to yield right of way," Sgt. Belva McClinton said.

McClinton said the girl rode right through a stop sign and into traffic on California street. She's expected to be OK.

The driver of the truck is a teenager who lives nearby. The driver's mother wanted to remain anonymous, but said an accident like this could easily happen again - to any driver.

"There's always unsupervised children playing in the road," she said. "And anyone in Gainesville knows California street is a pretty busy street."

She's also worried about the safety of neighborhood children - even before yesterday's accident.

"We have actually had to slam on the brakes because a child kicked the ball across the street and ran after it without looking," she said. "So we have had a few close calls."

McClinton said anyone worried about the safety of children can call Gainesville Police.

"More than likely what would happen if we did find them and they were at risk we would contact their parents, and normally we would notify CPS ourselves," she said.

Jones said she won't let her grandchildren in the front yard. But she thinks the city should take other steps for parents who aren't so proactive.

"This is one of Gainesville's main streets. I understand that. But still there outta be a sign that says that they should drive a little slower, children at play, watch for children playing, or whatever," she said.

While the mother of the truck driver said she'd like to see signs warning drivers of children in the area, it's ultimately up to the parents to keep their own kids away from dangerously busy streets.