General Question

ibstubro's avatar

Are there still anti-jaywalking laws on the books, and are they still enforced?

Asked by ibstubro (12494 points ) March 9th, 2014

I’m in a rural area and the idea that someone would stop you from crossing any street at any time is ludicrous. Even when I’m in the nearest local city, people seem to jaywalk with impunity. It also seems to happen frequently on TV and in the movies.

I’ve been wondering for the past several years if jaywalking is still I crime, now I ask the question.

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25 Answers

johnpowell's avatar

They are here. Our downtown is kinda like homeless central. They only really bust you if look poor.

I have gotten a few and I disputed them and won. Pretty much the law is that you can cross as long as you take the shortest path and no traffic is around.

zenvelo's avatar

Yes, and it is actively enforced some places. There has been an effort in San Francisco because of a high incident of pedestrian deaths that have occur from crossing in the middle of the street or against traffic lights.

And a woman jogging in Austin TX was recently arrested for jaywalking.

bolwerk's avatar

Yes, there are. The BBC talked about this peculiarity a month or so ago.

Back in January, the police beat up an old Chinese man for jaywalking in NYC. This was after the new mayor had been recently inaugurated after a campaign promising to rein in police brutality. This in a city where jaywalking is generally viewed as allowable, even if it’s technically not allowed.

stanleybmanly's avatar

You bet your as# they are. And it’s another one of those legal methods available to the “man” when it’s time to demonstrate authority.

talljasperman's avatar

In Edmonton you get a $250 fine for Jaywalking downtown… I wonder what aggravated Jaywalking is?

pleiades's avatar

Yep definitely still alive and well in San Diego. Police will write tickets

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I think it was the coke snorter from Toronto that just got busted for jaywalking.

ibstubro's avatar

Great information, all. I guess we don’t generally have the population density here in the Midwest to make it necessary to enforce jaywalking laws.

I probably should have asked everyone’s location, but I got my answer generally.

JLeslie's avatar

Yes, and I think they should be enforced when people walk out in the middle of a street in a very unsafe situation. It’s completely unfair to drivers to walk through traffic in a place not designated for pedestrians. I don’t mean everyone who jaywalks should be ticketed, I jaywalk sometimes, everyone does, I just mean discouraging it is a good idea, and having rules about it, because so many people seem too stupid to realize it is dangerous. They aren’t good judges of what is dangerous. So many people just walk out in front of cars without making sure the driver sees them. They are texting, or talking, or oblivious in general. Oh, and behind cars too. I don’t get it. It’s so easy for a driver to make a mistake and then the pedestrian is seriously harmed or dead. Who cares if ultimately the driver is at fault? You’re dead. Plus, the driver now has to be haunted by the accident.

ibstubro's avatar

The main road in one of the towns near-by is also an interstate highway. The high school and middle school are on one side of the highway and the shopping center and fast food joints are on the other. There is ONE stop light, and ONE cross walk. When school lets out, the kids all cross two lanes, stand in the middle of the (unmedianed) highway, then cross the other two lanes. You would go nuts @JLeslie.

JLeslie's avatar

Well, when school let’s out I am sure drivers are hyper aware. At least I hope so. When I jaywalk I realize it’s dangerous and I can’t count on the driver seeing me. It’s the assumption some pedestrians have that driver’s are somehow perfect and will always be aware of everything that drives me crazy.

I was in NYC a few weeks ago and the roads were slushy and icy and a total mess. People were walking into the street in all sorts of odd places, but everyone was hyper aware of the danger. It was dangerous, but everyone was on the same page. More or less.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Jaywalking tickets are more or less used as a means of enforcing racism in my area.

ibstubro's avatar

Wow, really, @uberbatman? Where are you? I honestly thought that sort of behavior was in the past.

johnpowell's avatar

Like uberbatman it is totally geared as a easy ticket towards the poors and blacks here. It is pretty much a easy excuse to run your ID and make your day shit so you leave the part of town they are trying to “clean”.

I’m in Eugene, Oregon.

JLeslie's avatar

That totally sucks.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Rural bits of South Jersey. It’s weird here, some people are racist as fuck and proud of it.

ibstubro's avatar

I’ve never been to Oregon, but always have wanted to. For some reason I never considered there would be redneck racists there, @johnpowell.

Very interesting information, @uberbatman! Fluther at it’s best: from jaywalking to “congenital idiots and criminals” of Jersey in one easy step. I’m reading about the Kallikak family right now. Thanks.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I had a friend, over forty years ago, that was police officer in a small city. The motto was, “if a pedestrian is hit by a car, outside a crosswalk arrest the corpse.”
A dead jaywalker was the cause of their own death.

Yes, they still issue tickets for jaywalking.

johnpowell's avatar

@ibstubro :: There aren’t that many. They just to tend to be cops. In the last election there were tons of Obama signs and bumper stickers. I saw one Romney yard sign. That isn’t really a good metric since I am sure he didn’t even try here.

Eugene is probably one of the most liberal places in the country. But we are still really racist.

JLeslie's avatar

Just thinking about it, I think when Guiliani was Mayor of NYC the cops were accused, which in turn was accusing Guiliani, of stopping people and ID’ing them for “nothing.” Maybe sometimes they used jaywalking? Supposedly, minorities were more likely to be hassled. I actually didn’t have much trouble with it. My guess is they were doing it to mostly young men who were loitering in some way. I’m against the polic harrassing anyone, but asking them for ID or moving them along I don’t mind. A ticket might be over the top, and I especially don’t think a jaywalking ticket should be over $100. That’s ridiculous. Maybe $20. A warning sounds better to me.

johnpowell's avatar

@JLeslie :: You are thinking of Stop-and-Frisk.

JLeslie's avatar

Yes, that’s it. Now that you wrote it, I remember. I’m against an actual frisk, I think that is harrassment unless there is truly a valid reason. I guess my question about the basic idea is were the areas targeted by the cops where lots of crime was happening? Did they also happen to be minority areas? Then the minorities would seem to be disportionately stopped by cops, but maybe it was warranted? I don’t know exactly how thebpolic applied the policy. The big problem is some cops probably take it too far. Most cops know their beat, know the familiar faces. Your link says 9 out of 10 were innocent. So 10% actually were carrying on some sort of illegal activity? That actually is pretty high considering how often this was supposedly being done. That’s a lot of people caught isn’t it? It does seem like the cops took it too far, abused it, and I do think that is a problem. 10% isn’t enough to justify the policy in my mind, but it is still a lot of people.

Do you think it contributed to crime rates going down? They did go down significantly. There were more factors than just this policy obviously.

I could see jaywalking used as a reason to stop someone.

I’m very glad I feel much safer in NYC than when I used to go in the 70’s and 80’s.

ibstubro's avatar

Interesting, @johnpowell. Well known phenomena that police officers tend to be some of the most narrow minded citizens. I think there is something in the ‘law and order” mindset that wants to take tendencies within easily identifiable groups and make them into absolutes. I do not know your race. Is it relevant to this discussion?

johnpowell's avatar

My race. Skinny white nerd. People on the bus ask me computer questions. I am that nerdy.

I’m not black but during the winter I grow a massive beard and have hair down to my shoulders and people give me change without asking.

ibstubro's avatar

Thanks, @johnpowell. As I was typing the question I knew my question was probably considered racist, but I wanted to know the answer, so I posted it.

I wouldn’t give you change, but I might chat you up. Eyes are the windows to the soul, and if I saw the eyes of a nerd with bushy hair, I probably wouldn’t be able to resist. I chat strangers that interest me almost daily.

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