November 28, 2022

"[A]s of Jan. 1, we Californians will be able to jaywalk to a film audition, jaywalk to buy pot, jaywalk to meet an angel investor for a start-up, jaywalk for hot baby yoga classes..."

"... jaywalk for the benefit of paparazzi alerted earlier about where and when the jaywalking will occur, and jaywalk to any of the countless California-centric pastimes that the rest of the country finds so amusing. Or we might jaywalk across the street just to get to the other side.... [A]n enterprising individual can shoplift goods worth up to $950 without worrying about being tagged with a felony. Parking in L.A. is always a pain; if you’re hotfooting it out of a Macy’s or Target with an armful of pilfered goods, your ability to jaywalk worry-free to your getaway car is a cultural advantage right up there with being able to make a right turn on a red light. On a more serious note, the Freedom to Walk Act is a social-justice victory. As the bill’s author, state Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) told CBS Bay Area news, jaywalking laws 'are arbitrarily enforced and tickets are disproportionately given to people of color and in low-income communities.'"

From "California greenlights jaywalking. It’s a step in the right direction" (WaPo).

Yeah, don't have a law you're not willing to enforce equally against everyone. We don't want chaos, but you've got to draw the line where you'd want it enforced against you and the people you personally favor. 

115 comments:

Big Mike said...

We have laws against jaywalking so that a motorist who hits a jaywalker has an easier defense in a civil trial.

Humperdink said...

Unsuspecting drivers clipping jaywalkers at a high rate, tort lawyers rejoice.

Breezy said...

Who is most at risk from being hit by a car while jaywalking, I wonder?

Birches said...

Ehh, I don't really believe jaywalking laws are selectively enforced. It was commonplace to see someone trying to cross five lanes of traffic at dusk in the ghetto where I grew up. This sort of thing doesn't happen in the places where I live now. People don't like walking to a crosswalk in the ghetto. Maybe because they're always walking, I'm not sure, but it's true.

Ann Althouse said...

They're not going to be handing out $200 tickets anymore, but there will still be lawsuits.

It's a category of lawsuit: "struck pedestrian." I believe car insurance companies regularly settle these cases.

Pedestrians need to watch out because their life is on the line, and drivers need to watch out too. It's awful to have any kind of collision. So people will be careful. There just won't be any authority writing a ticket for the pedestrian who crosses in the middle of the block or doesn't wait for the light.

Another old lawyer said...

Michael Brown might be alive today under this law because his walking down the middle of the street wouldn't be cause for the policeman to have engaged with him. The policeman would simply have kept driving, maybe after waving jauntily, and Michael would have kept walking, happily and lawfully disrupting traffic. Sad!

Leland said...

There just won't be any authority writing a ticket for the pedestrian who crosses in the middle of the block or doesn't wait for the light.

For now, because there is public memory of what was once the law and the understanding of order. Today, most drivers can't tell you what the white line before the crosswalk means. Having a crosswalk will now be superfluous in California. In a generation, it will be expected that anybody can walk on the roadway. If this seems absurd, simply visit a country that does not have order in its transportation network.

tim maguire said...

In NYC, jaywalking is an art form and it's not a problem for traffic. Jaywalking is efficient; it reduces the time-wasting nonsense of making pedestrians follow rules that were created for cars. Unless you make a nuisance of yourself, there's nothing wrong with jaywalking and it never should have been outlawed.

Temujin said...

Good to see they're working on the Big Stuff in the all-Democratic California Legislature. It's not like there's anything else to work on in the Golden State.

On this alone, tar and feathers should be distributed widely in that state. Although tar, being based from fossil fuels, might not be acceptable to the masses there. Might have to use soap bubbles and feathers instead. And lots of makeup. Hell...make it a Drag Queen event and call it a day.

Enigma said...

@Althouse: "We don't want chaos, but you've got to draw the line where you'd want it enforced against you and the people you personally favor."

The story mentioned mass shoplifting. Now consider burning down cities for fun. Now consider murder. The simple analysis requires comparing disproportionate impacts to disproportionate offense rates. The federal government has long collected detailed crime-by-race data -- many don't like the tough findings it raises so discussion has become taboo in the dysfunctional / tribal / bigoted portion of the left.


Mass insanity ends only when (1) some of the insane come to their senses and control the others, or (2) the insane die off through internal conflicts or dead-end choices.

gilbar said...

this IS "a step in the right direction"
once we have gotten rid, of ALL LAW.. Everything will be legal, so we will live* in a crime free world

live* well, we will live until we are raped and murdered to death.. But still! Crime free world!!

Critter said...

Using your enforcement logic, we should strike down laws against protesting for or against abortion because only one side is prosecuted. Or protesting in the Capitol or in front of Supreme Court justice homes. Or protesting at school board meetings. All are arbitrarily enforced disproportionately against people based on their skin color and political views.

iowan2 said...

Yeah, don't have a law you're not willing to enforce equally against everyone. We don't want chaos,

But its for safety. Abusing citizens in the name of safety is now firmly established in the Democrat party, as a way to ignore the Constitution....its for your own safety, and the safety of others...

rehajm said...

It's a category of lawsuit: "struck pedestrian." I believe car insurance companies regularly settle these cases.

...and you helped supply that industry with plenty of semi-ambitious young legal grifters. You're evil...

Eleanor said...

This is such a city thing. Where I live here out in the sticks, we look both ways and cross the street. There's one crosswalk in town, and cars are supposed to stop and let a pedestrian waiting at it cross the street, but it's not a sure thing so it's still look both ways and cross the street. After living in a couple of cities, I understand why there are traffic lights, crosswalks, and laws about where you can and cannot cross the street, and that's one of the reasons I don't live there anymore.

Gusty Winds said...

Althouse said...So people will be careful. There just won't be any authority writing a ticket for the pedestrian who crosses in the middle of the block or doesn't wait for the light.

But people won't be careful. More people will get hit. Guaranteed. It's a new carte blanche. Just like the way bicyclists behave in traffic since the signs went up that say "bikes have the right of way if they are IN THE ROAD and crossing".

Bicyclists interpret that to mean they don't even have to look both ways and just ride out in the middle of the road. God forbid they interrupt their heart rate.

MartyH said...

Why not eliminate speed limits? DWB is a real thing.

Sebastian said...

"don't have a law you're not willing to enforce equally against everyone"

Would the U.S. have any laws left?

Jamie said...

Unless you make a nuisance of yourself,

Aye, there's the rub. It's fine if the pedestrian respects the fact that the car he's dodging can kill him and crosses with alacrity. But what if it's that group of people we've all been walking behind at some time or another - that group that strolls down the sidewalk or through the corridor, side by side, oblivious to (or deliberately trying to annoy) everyone behind them?

The problem with allowing jaywalking is that it explicitly gives that group of people permission to do that strolling thing across a busy street and expect the cars to slow and swerve to avoid them. For those who still respect the ability of cars to kill them and the worth of orderly conduct, nothing's going to change. For those who don't - who will predominantly be young - it'll be gleeful chaos.

Christopher B said...

The intent of 'broken windows policing' is not just to focus on minor crimes that generate the impression that nobody is minding the store as graffiti, vagrancy, and other minor issues do but to also give the cops tools to stop people who are engaged in unusual, i.e. suspicious, behavior like walking down the middle of of a busy street or attempting to cross multiple lanes of traffic.

The intent of 'defund the police' is to limit police functions to interviewing crime victims and filling out forms.

Tank said...

Pedestrian deaths up to all time high!

People of color hit hardest!

Patrick Henry was right! said...

Professor, you accept, without evidence, the asserted claim of disproportionate enforcement and then advance the Narrative. You are a good and helpful Comrade.

Amexpat said...

Jaywalking laws, as written and enforced in the US, are a pet peeve with me. I think many municipalities use them to raise revenue rather than for public safety.

I actually once had a cop pull a gun on me for jaywalking. I was walking to work very early in the morning in West LA in the mid '70s. I was waiting at a red light that didn't turn green, long after it should have. It was a quiet street with no traffic, so I crossed against the red light. As soon as did, a cop car that was parked a block away, turned on its siren a drove to me. A big cop came out and asked for my ID. I understood and was angry that I was set up for this infraction. I curtly responded by asking the cop for his ID. He smiled, pulled out his gun, and said "this is my ID". I wisely decided not to push the point and had to pay a bullshit fine. I'm not black, but I did have long hair, which was almost as bad in LA then.

Lem Former Twitter Aficionado said...

It’s going to test the confidence of jaywalkers on driverless technology. It’s a selfless act when you find people willing to put their neck on the line for the advancement of civilization like this.

Last I heard there were 9 fatalities in San Francisco alone involving driverless vehicles. Jaywalkers are the new heroes.

Gahrie said...

Yeah, don't have a law you're not willing to enforce equally against everyone.

Assumes facts not in evidence. Perhaps certain people are arrested more often for jaywalking because certain people are much more likely to jaywalk than others.

Like violent crime. Young Black men are arrested for violent crime more often because young Black men (around 5% of the population) commit over 50% of all violent crime. Nobody cares, because they are mostly attacking each other.

Amexpat said...

Having a crosswalk will now be superfluous in California.

Not necessarily. I've lived many years in Oslo, where jaywalking is not a crime. If there is traffic, people use the crosswalk. If there is no traffic, you look both ways and jaywalk. Not very complicated.

If reckless jaywalking is an issue, then make a law against that.

As a cultural side note. No one in Neighboring Denmark jaywalks. Have no idea if there is a law against it there - it's just considered bad form to do so. I think it's the same in Germany.

Trollinator1000 said...

This is some of the worst thinking in governance. In DC. the city council just altered the lawn in favor of bicyclists to allow them to run stop signs if the intersection is clear of pedestrians and vehicles while simultaneously disallowing right turns on red for vehicles. This is engineered chaos.

MadisonMan said...

I jaywalk all the time. I just did this morning after getting some cold brew at Indie Coffee -- Regent St was clear of cars (although I saw a whole bunch queued at the Randall light, ready to zoom towards me).

Ann Althouse said...

“ Professor, you accept, without evidence, the asserted claim of disproportionate enforcement and then advance the Narrative.”

False

Jefferson's Revenge said...

We have no laws anymore. Just like we have no real court system. We haven't fully woken up to that yet.

I spend 2-3 days a week in Philly and use rail, subway and bus to get around, as well as sidewalk. In reality, any individual in public in a major city in vulnerable at any moment. There are few visible cops on the street. Bus drivers are basically behind armored glass and pay no attention to passenger behavior. Subways reek of pot. Every other bench on what were beautiful city parks has a homeless sleeping in it - don't get downwind if you can avoid it. And hope they don't wake up screaming and violent.

All of these things are avoidable and preventable. For some reason, our elite seem to be seeking societal chaos. Laws and norms are chipped away at daily till nothing is left. This is just a minor example of that.

Now get off my lawn while I yell at some clouds!

Spiros said...

Poor people can be obnoxious losers! Low status people seek out ways to have power over other people, even if just for a moment. Poor people are much more likely to, for example, cross a street very slowly, against the light, and force drivers to wait for them. It's one small, obnoxious way to stick it The Man. How about super loud music? Berating retail workers? Screaming at police officers? And so on.

Gahrie said...

Professor, you accept, without evidence, the asserted claim of disproportionate enforcement and then advance the Narrative.”

False


Yeah, don't have a law you're not willing to enforce equally against everyone. We don't want chaos, but you've got to draw the line where you'd want it enforced against you and the people you personally favor.

?????

Readering said...

Moving to LA after many years living in NYC, I was ticketed twice for jaywalking. Once for starting off at crosswalk after the signal started counting down. The city was notoriously pro-car, anti-pedestrian.

Joe Smith said...

People of color and poor people are too dumb to understand the 'WALK' sign.

Is that the hill you want to die on?

Joe Smith said...

'It's a category of lawsuit: "struck pedestrian." I believe car insurance companies regularly settle these cases.'

Maybe. But a lot of people know how to get 'hit' by a car without getting injured.

Nice source of income.

Why make it easier?

Howard said...

Yes we must fight the oppression from poor people. They are so injurious to our conveniently suburban happiness

Ann Althouse said...

@gahrie

There’s a difference between believing something is true and believing it could be true. Is there a risk of abuse? I care about that and don’t need the asserted fact to be true before I want to err on the side of freedom.

Banzel said...

Iowa set felony theft at $1,000 in 1979. And raised it to $1,500 in 2018. The spike in retail theft has much more to do with broader cultural attitudes than with criminal consequences.

planetgeo said...

This is so California-ish. Amazing how Homer foresaw the coming of these Lotus-eaters a couple millenia ago. My own Odyssey for several decades there (and recent escape) convinces me that Homer may still be a registered voter there.

Richard Aubrey said...

Seen, many times, in a certain section of FLint, MI, peds getting as far as possible from a steetlight--seems purposeful anyway--at night in dark clothes to walk across the street.

And an office overlooking a busy downtown intersection. The sirens of cops or ambulances seemed to generate the hurry-up-and-then-stroll crossing technique.

I would be unlikely to accept this is all the result of negligence and thinking of something else at the time.

Richard Aubrey said...

Seen, many times, in a certain section of Flint, MI, peds getting as far as possible from a streetlight--seems purposeful anyway--at night in dark clothes to walk across the street.

And an office overlooking a busy downtown intersection. The sirens of cops or ambulances seemed to generate the hurry-up-and-then-stroll crossing technique.

I would be unlikely to accept this is all the result of negligence and thinking of something else at the time.

Jamie said...

If reckless jaywalking is an issue, then make a law against that.

This seems like an "I know it when I see it" thing, which, it seems to me, would lead to even more claims of disparate impact.

What happens in very homogeneous societies does not necessarily happen in very heterogenous ones. Scandinavia is becoming less homogeneous, but it's still very... Scandinavian. Jaywalking is common in LaCrosse, too, or was when I was a kid visiting my grandparents, but it was also a very homogeneous city.

rehajm said...

Yeah, don't have a law you're not willing to enforce equally against everyone. We don't want chaos, but you've got to draw the line where you'd want it enforced against you and the people you personally favor.

The fatal flaw in this argument is the varying definition of 'equal enforcement'. To the multi-billion-dollar-political-race-bait-industrial-complex (Big Racism™) enforcement inequality means some perceived disproportionate number of minorities being ticketed even if that minority is doing a disproportionate amount of the violating.

Meanwhile, law enforcement is ticketing with extreme prejudice against only those committing the violations. Big Racism™ doesn't like that...

Another old lawyer said...

Ms. Althouse, how do you feel about traffic laws like speeding, failure to yield, lights not working, etc., which are subject to the same enforcement concerns as jaywalking?

Gahrie said...

There’s a difference between believing something is true and believing it could be true. Is there a risk of abuse? I care about that and don’t need the asserted fact to be true before I want to err on the side of freedom.

By this logic, there should be no laws against murder. Black people are arrested for murder at far higher rates than Whites, and it is regularly asserted that the police discriminate against Black people. We don't need to worry if this is true or not, we can just react emotionally and dump the law...right?

Anyone got a fiddle for sale cheap?

Lurker21 said...

"World To End Tomorrow; Women, Minorities Most Affected" now seems to be a dogma. I doubt Ting did any research or has any statistics to back him up, and also doubt whether he's ever seriously questioned the convenient and useful "people of color" concept.

Tim said...

But jaywalking is not a victimless crime. If you are jaywalking, and step out into traffic and get hit, then you have a hard time suing. But if you can legally cross the street anywhere, then driving in the city becomes an exercise in avoiding the morons who are going to deliberately step in front of you. Oh well, just another reason to stay out of the hellholes most of our cities have become.

BUMBLE BEE said...

In Detroit those lawsuits are called the "313 Lotto". Played by indigents nationwide.

BUMBLE BEE said...

Willful Ignorance of life in the Big City there Prof.

Gahrie said...

There’s a difference between believing something is true and believing it could be true. Is there a risk of abuse? I care about that and don’t need the asserted fact to be true before I want to err on the side of freedom.

How does this lead to anything other than anarchy?

Ted said...

Leave it to the Washington Post to take a "humorous" look at a simple legal controversy happening in California, by hiring the guy who became famous by writing Bond movies and 1982's "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche." (Thought experiment: Try getting that book published today.) I don't think I've ever seen as many dumb L.A. cliches in a single paragraph than the one quoted here. (Does the WaPo, serving an area that consists of a single, one-industry city, even understand that there's more to California than Los Angeles -- or even that there's more to Los Angeles than the film industry?) Also, while jaywalking may or may not be dangerous, "hot baby yoga" could definitely harm your baby, so good luck with those lawsuits.

Aggie said...

Yes, but will they be able to sue the driver that plows into them when they step into the street without looking, outside of a pedestrian zone?

Gahrie said...

Let me suggest that a casual disregard for the truth and the importance of truth goes a long way to explaining societal disfunction today.

Gusty Winds said...

Althouse said...

There’s a difference between believing something is true and believing it could be true. Is there a risk of abuse? I care about that and don’t need the asserted fact to be true before I want to err on the side of freedom.

Too bad more people on the left don't take this approach when we are discussing the voter fraud in America.

The left says "THIS CANNOT BE TRUE!!! MOST SECURE ELECTIONS EVER! DON'T AUDIT, DON'T COOPERATE WITH ANY AUDITS BECAUSE WE KNOW THIS CAN'T POSSIBLY BE TRUE! YOU'RE AND ELECTION DENIER AND A FASCIST"

And I'd say voter fraud is a hell of a lot bigger than J-walking.

Amexpat said...

This seems like an "I know it when I see it" thing, which, it seems to me, would lead to even more claims of disparate impact.

Yes, there can be a discretionary aspect to that. But, there should be some objective criteria that you could put into a statute against reckless jaywalking to remedy that. Causing a vehicle to slow down or alter course would be one.

As to civil liability, you could have a law that would create a statutory liability or an assumption of fault for all incidents involving a collision between a jaywalker and a vehicle.

hawkeyedjb said...

I too favor getting rid of nuisance laws, but it seems we can only do so if, first, we accept the conclusion that 'people of color' are the ones affected by the law. This is almost always an untrue assertion, offered as fact, but irrefutable by facts.

iowan2 said...

Does that mean the liability transfers to the driver, not the walker? Dad taught me that pedestrians ALWAYS have the right-of-way. But I dont know what the law says.
He also told us to never use reverse of drive forward around the parking lot was an option. Bad things happen in reverse.

Carla Zaz said...

Yeah, don't have a law you're not willing to enforce equally against everyone

Don't tell me you actually fell for this cut-and-paste template "arbitrarily enforced and tickets are disproportionately given to people of color and in low-income communities" BS.

Next you'll be joining in the latest outrage that daylight saving time disproportionately affects persons of color.

FullMoon said...

Generally, downtown in the big city, the crosswalk is controlled by funny lights. Red, yellow and green. Pedestrians are required to robotically obey these childish colors and wait their turn, then cross in a semi orderly fashion.

With the new law, these lights will no longer be needed, saving electricity, and thus,in a small way, the planet.
Winning!

FullMoon said...

jaywalking laws 'are arbitrarily enforced and tickets are disproportionately given to people of color and in low-income communities.'"

Always due to skin color, never due to disproportionate flaunting of the laws. Next up, rape, robbery, murder.

Tina Trent said...

Is there proof of abuse? If you actually believe this is true, then why hasn't anyone won a lawsuit for disparate treatment?

Here are some facts.

25% of traffic fatalities in California are pedestrians, some 6500 in 2020.
Those numbers are rising.
The majority of victims are minorities.
California has three of the ten cities for highest numbers of pedestrian deaths.
The second highest group of pedestrian fatalities are among older Asian Americans: maybe Bill Ting just hates his grandmother.
Ting also sponsored legislation decreeing that bicyclists do not need to obey traffic signs. Even Governor Hairpiece vetoed that one.
Ting seems to have a death-wish for others, or maybe just an unhealthy addiction to Rollerball.

Other municipalities have managed to reduce pedestrian deaths as California's rises by enforcing crosswalk laws and penalties for careless drivers.

Jaywalking tickets for pedestrians are like speeding tickets for drivers. Both are designed to make people think about safety. Scores of studies have proven that black drivers are stopped more often for all traffic infractions only because they commit more of each of those infractions. Bias has never been proven. Show me the case where it is proven for pedestrians correctly adjusted for the number of each racial group that engages in the behavior. Everything else is anecdote.

I'd rather see a campaign for more crosswalks in places where people get killed (we did that here, and it's helping) and a reduction in the fine, not legalizing the behavior.

I bet the next thing they make "free" in California is drag racing. We've had so many deaths here in Georgia from this new pastime that laws were passed to increase penalties for it. Now deaths are down, so don't burning rubber down Peachtree Street no more.

rcocean said...

You need a better written jaywalking law. Everyone knows there's "Jaywalking" and then there's "JAYWALKING". The first is crossing a deserted street at 5 AM, with no cars in sight. The 2nd is running and dodging accross four to six lanes of traffic.

Before we could rely on the common sense of the Cops and Judges to apply the Jaywalking law in a commonsense way. Now, I guess we can't.

BTW, If I decide run accross the nearby 6 lane Freeway is that "Jaywalking" and now OK in Calf? Or is that covered by someother law? If driving a car, can I now blow through a red light if there's no traffic? Logically if I can ignore the crosswalk and lights as a pedestrian, I should be able to as a driver.

Further, why don't we get rid of speed limits? Just arrest people for "reckless" driving.

Carla Zaz said...

After a generation of entitlement culture among pedestrians who just cross without looking, followed by more people getting hit, followed by these Vision Zero policies (which make things worse), now we get written into law authorization to do what people do already and will only lead to more people getting hit by vehicles that do not have time to stop, or by an increase in rear-end collisions by those vehicles that do stop.

gilbar said...

We Should ALWAYS Trust The LAW!!! and by The Law; i mean, of course, the Democrat Party
https://slaynews.com/news/biden-admin-unable-account-20-billion-us-aid-sent-ukraine/

FTX founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried admitted that his company was laundering the funds for the Ukrainian government.

FTX and its executives were then funneling millions of dollars back to the United States and into the coffers of Democrat candidates’ midterm election campaigns.

if you Don't think the US is a corrupt Banana Republic.. You REALLY aren't paying much attention

Ann Althouse said...

From the article:

“ but police still have discretion to issue a citation for crossing in the face of an immediate danger or hazard.”

gilbar said...

BTW, If I decide run accross the nearby 6 lane Freeway is that "Jaywalking" ??

no! that is NOT Jaywalking.. Ride the signs. You're NOT Allowed to walk on a freeway (or ride a moped less than 150cc) it is Limited Access

veni vidi vici said...

Jay walk me Elmo.

Gahrie said...

“ but police still have discretion to issue a citation for crossing in the face of an immediate danger or hazard.”

If you oppose a law because you believe it is being used in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner, how does giving the police more discretion in enforcing it become the solution?

tim maguire said...

Jamie said...
"Unless you make a nuisance of yourself"

Aye, there's the rub...The problem with allowing jaywalking is that it explicitly gives that group of people permission to do that strolling thing


Except that my comment that you pulled that quote from included a real world example of a congested city in which jaywalking is normal and accepted and none of the parade of horribles trotted out by people in this thread have come to pass.

Original Mike said...

If you demand drivers come to a screeching halt when someone steps off the curb, you should give drivers a reasonable expectation as to where they will encounter pedestrians (i.e. crosswalks).

Baceseras said...

Shouldn't even call it jaywalking. Call it what it is, "crossing against the light" (or "crossing out of crosswalk").

Jaywalking, walking like a jay -- a hick, a rube, someone who doesn't know city ways -- means gawking at the big buildings, gaping at the crowds, blinking at the shop displays . . . and stepping on or off the curb, in disregard of traffic. When there is no traffic, who but a jay would stand staring at a red light? Or go searching for a painted crosswalk?

In light traffic, use your sense. A grown person should be able to safely navigate on foot through lightly streaming motorists, without annoying them.

rcocean said...

"but police still have discretion to issue a citation for crossing in the face of an immediate danger or hazard.”

Why not do the same for running a red light? Or driving drunk. After all, what does it matter if you're a little tipsy if you're driving OK?

Baceseras said...

I know I'm out of step -- I'm not jaywalking, though -- out of step with the whipped-up demand for more regulation in the name of safety. I like the old deal where a cop could simply holler out, Hey buddy use the crosswalk. That depends on the kind of city life where most people would do what the cop said, and not make a federal case out of it. Also depends on most cops using good judgment, when to holler and sometimes not.

tim in vermont said...

"Angel investor...."

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Funniest thing in the whole piece.

Carla Zaz said...

Pedestrians need to watch out because their life is on the line

Torts, as part of the common law, is grounded in experience and right reason, including the concept of due care to avoid harm to oneself and to others. Legislative enactments are based largely on arbitrariness. But you can't legislate on whom is best situated to avoid a vehicle hitting a pedestrian. 99 times out of a hundred, it is the pedestrian. And the injury is avoided by the old commonsense rules of look both ways, don't cross until it is clear, and don't cross in front of on-coming traffic even if you have the right of way until it is certain that they will stop.

In a ton of steel vs. flesh, the steel will win every time.

tommyesq said...

I am okay with this so long as the pedestrians don't hit the "walk" button and then jaywalk - nothing more annoying than waiting for a walk sign when no one is actually crossing the street.

Original Mike said...

"Pedestrians need to watch out because their life is on the line, and drivers need to watch out too. It's awful to have any kind of collision. So people will be careful."

You would think so but, apparently, many people don't think like you or I. I have witnessed countless episodes of young people listening to music, attention focused on their phone, cross the street without a glance as to the traffic conditions. I chalk it up to the sense of pedestrian-entitlement/cars-are-evil promulgated by the left, combined with the feeling of immortality held by the young.

Scotty, beam me up... said...

Blogger Ann Althouse said...
From the article:

“ but police still have discretion to issue a citation for crossing in the face of an immediate danger or hazard.”
*****************************************************************************************************
But will the police do this, especially when a liberal DA’s office or a liberal judge will just dismiss the case out of hand? I also have issues with pedestrians ignoring the legal right of way that vehicles have on the road “rules of the road”. Years ago, while driving on University Avenue on the UW-Madison campus, I saw UW students routinely ignore the “Don’t Cross” traffic light and cross against traffic as well as students crossing the road wherever they damned well pleased, expecting drivers to stop for them when the drivers had the right of way! I also had noticed this as well in the past when I was a pedestrian in that area. I also have concerns that if a driver accidentally hits a jay walker crossing the street wherever (especially if the pedestrian is crossing while staring at their phones, which I have also noticed at and near the Capitol Square in Madison), that the driver will be at fault.

MadTownGuy said...

Tina Trent said...

...

"I bet the next thing they make "free" in California is drag racing."

In the unincorporated LA County community where I grew up, major accidents on surface streets are happening almost weekly with cars doing donuts in the middle of the road or showing off their fast & furious skills. One guy doing donuts lost control and took out a Toyota minivan. Prosecutors are disinterested.

Michael K said...

One time, years ago, I was visiting in Chicago where I grew up. At that time, Chicago drivers prided themselves on missing pedestrians as closely as possible. We started to cross a street in the pedestrian crossing and a driver screeched to a halt to let us pass. I laughed and said, "You must be from California." At that time pedestrians had right of way there if in crosswalks. He replied that he was and laughed. The days when the Golden State was still golden.

Achilles said...

Ann Althouse said...

They're not going to be handing out $200 tickets anymore, but there will still be lawsuits.

Now there will be a lot more lawsuits because there will be a lot more struck pedestrians.

Convenient for lawyers.

It's a category of lawsuit: "struck pedestrian." I believe car insurance companies regularly settle these cases.

Settlements paid for by insurance we are all forced by the government to buy.

The working and middle class are forced to support another bureaucratic administrative structure infested by parasites that contribute nothing to society.

Pedestrians need to watch out because their life is on the line, and drivers need to watch out too. It's awful to have any kind of collision. So people will be careful. There just won't be any authority writing a ticket for the pedestrian who crosses in the middle of the block or doesn't wait for the light.

You live in such an insulated bubble.

Go to any Asian country and tell me how your little parable works out in the long run. Shit just go to Mexico.

n.n said...

#NoLabels #NoJudgment Sure, why not.

Discretion as in prosecutorial. Discretion as in unequal, perhaps inequitable enforcement. Discretion as in political congruence ("="). Discretion as in D[iversity]IE. Discretion as in the Pro-Choice ethical religion. Forward! and don't spare the babies.

n.n said...

Discretion as in [catastrophic] [anthropogenic] immigration reform, [underage] girls raped, and the "burden" of evidence Planned, perhaps cannibalized, then its carbon remains sequestered in darkness.

robother said...

Note the only evidence cited in the article as proof of racist enforcement:

...Los Angeles police cite Black pedestrians for jaywalking at a rate “over three times their population share in the city,” according to his analysis of LAPD data.

By that standard, since (according to FBI stats since the 70s) Blacks are suspects in over 51% of intentional homicides, enlightened jurisdictions need to repeal the laws against intentional homicide. Apparently, even the wild west wasn't wild enough for our Progressive Libertarians.

Achilles said...

tommyesq said...

I am okay with this so long as the pedestrians don't hit the "walk" button and then jaywalk - nothing more annoying than waiting for a walk sign when no one is actually crossing the street.

Again this comes down to the type of society we want and the pressures placed on the individual.

We have a few options:

Option 1 State enforcement of jaywalking rules. Government treating us like infants and handing out tickets.

Option 2 We give pedestrians crosswalks and stop lights for most and we let people take responsibility for their crossing the road outside of these safe spaces.

Option 3 We let people jump in front of cars and hire a lawyer to get a settlement from the insurance company that funds Lawyers, Insurance companies, and people willing to jump in front of cars at the expense of the middle and working class.

Shockingly the government, lawyers, and insurance companies have chose option 3.

It is shocking.

Lurker21 said...

I am okay with this so long as the pedestrians don't hit the "walk" button and then jaywalk - nothing more annoying than waiting for a walk sign when no one is actually crossing the street.

Guilty.

Around here, "jaywalking" is just a fancy way of saying "crossing the street."

California may have had a "the car is king" mentality when they passed the law.

wendybar said...

Another old lawyer said...
Michael Brown might be alive today under this law because his walking down the middle of the street wouldn't be cause for the policeman to have engaged with him. The policeman would simply have kept driving, maybe after waving jauntily, and Michael would have kept walking, happily and lawfully disrupting traffic. Sad!

11/28/22, 6:21 AM

After robbing a cigar store, and bullying an elderly store owner....which is why the police stopped him...THAT"S what is sad...that what you just commented is still believed by the masses. The propaganda works. And THAT is sad.

Richard Aubrey said...

wendybar. I think the old lawyer was joking. I think.

n.n said...

Laws offer a religious (i.e. behavioral control) foundation for civilization. #NoLabels #NoJudgment, right? Where is the equity and inclusion? Traffic laws are next, then we really starting scalping the burdens of social life.

"California greenlights jaywalking. It’s a step in the right direction" (WaPo).

Your first step may be your last. Watch your step. Demos-cracy is aborted with ostensibly good intentions.

retail lawyer said...

I've been Jaywalking all my life in California, mostly in San Francisco, and never gotten a ticket. But I've never caused a vehicle to stop or even slow down. Bums stagger out into a road without even looking, scare women into jumping into the street, and beg from motorists stopped for a light while in the street.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Here in OR, unless I'm much mistaken, literally every intersection has an imaginary crosswalk. This isn't quite "legalizing jaywalking," b/c you still do need to have the intersection. But it means that in practice you can cross at any intersection.

There are places I don't try to do that. Commercial Ave. between Madrona and Vista is a four-lane road with a lot of traffic at all hours, and there aren't any useful crossing points between those two cross-streets (which have lights), so sometimes it's inconvenient -- it's one very long city block, and often you want is on the other side halfway down. But in the main it's a simple and useful rule of law that minimizes genuinely hazardous pedestrian traffic while leaving commonplace "crossing the street" behavior alone.

Jamie said...

Except that my comment that you pulled that quote from included a real world example of a congested city in which jaywalking is normal and accepted and none of the parade of horribles trotted out by people in this thread have come to pass.

No, the remainder of my comment dealt with your real world example, by pointing out that what takes place in a homogeneous society does not necessarily take place in a heterogeneous one.

Marcus Bressler said...

The Hostess believes in the JWB myth. Giggle.

Marcus B. THEOLDMAN

It's always about race with you people. (guffaw)

rcocean said...

I wonder how insurance enters into this. Before, Jaywalking was agains the law. This seems to indicate that if I'm driving and hit you while "Jaywalking", you would have to prove I was reckless and should have avoided you. Otherwise, I'm in the clear. Since you were breaking the law.

Now, Jaywalking is legal. Who has the burden of proof now?

BTW, as a LIBERTARIAN, I don't believe in all these stop signs, speed limits, crosswalks, and endless motor vehicle rules and regulations. Let the free market decide! Why should I have to stop at a red light or go under 35 MPH near a school zone? I don't need some useless Government parasite cramping my style. If I hit someone and I'm in wrong so be it. Take me to court! But before that, let me drive the way I want. Individual Choice, its the American way!

rcocean said...

I lived in a small/medium size towns until i moved to big city USA after college. I can tell you that EVERYONE jaywalked in the small/medium towns. It would've made zero sense to walk to the corner and cross with the lights when there was almost no traffic, even during so-called rush hour. The idea that people were ticketed for "Jaywalking" seemed laughable.

In BigCity USA, its the opposite. You have crazy characters running and dodging accross heavily traveled 4 lane roads during rush hour. You have crazy "fuck you" characters who will just start walking against the light in a mid-town intersection because "Fuck this, I'm too busy to waste time". Get rid of law, and these loonies will cause chaos.

But OTOH, who cares anymore? between fog of MJ smoke, the homeless encampments, the smash and grab store robberies, the legal hard drugs, the uncleaned streets, ANTIFA riots, and overall dirtiness and rudeness/weirdness, what's a few Jaywalkers?

Hong Kong here I come!

iowan2 said...

Before we could rely on the common sense of the Cops and Judges to apply the Jaywalking law in a commonsense way. Now, I guess we can't.

Hence my 180 degree turn to oppose the Death Penalty. I no longer trust Judges or Prosecutors. Evidence is overwhelming.

Another old lawyer said...

@wendybar
@Richard Aubrey

I was attempting to mock the change in the law. If, as Ms. Althouse asserts, that a jaywalker can still be ticketed when causing immediate danger or hazard, then that becomes a matter of proof and disputed fact far more easily.

Before: 'he was walking down the middle of the road outside of the crosswalk and/or against the light'.

Now: 'he was walking down the middle of the road and causing immediate danger or harm.' Defense attorney/pro se defendant: "what does 'immediate' mean? 'danger'? 'hazard'? Are they defined by the statute/ordinance? What was the danger in this particular case caused by? how far away was the nearest moving car? How fast do you estimate it was driving? how many feet per second would it have taken for that car to reach the defendant? How many feet would it take for that driver to stop? Couldn't the driver swerve to avoid - there was room to do that, wasn't there? etc., etc.

And then on the civil side, no presumption against liability at all, it seems to me. Unless you can show the jaywalker is causing immediate danger or hazard (see above), then the jaywalker has just as much a right to be in that street than a car and one should always yield to a pedestrian.

And once a car has stopped for a jaywalker, I don't see where the jaywalker has any incentive to move out of the way. No more danger or hazard if all the traffic has stopped because he's in the middle of the street.

Changes like these just make the law more complicated, more expensive to enforce, less enforced, and society less civil.

JAORE said...

el Predicto sez:

In a year or so we'll hear that pedestrian injuries and deaths occur disproportionately in low income and minority areas.

Action WILL be demanded!

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Jamie,

You are, of course, right. Oslo is different from any American city, even our most homogeneous; we simply don't have a population "all on one wavelength" like that. I'm trying to think of examples. Lincoln, NE? Oslo is considerably larger, but then it's populated almost entirely by Norwegians. I am not saying that Norwegians are inherently more docile or cautious or regular in their habits, but I do say that a population brought up mostly in the same space, to the same set of ethical standards, is going to behave better in a game-theory-simulation exercise like this one than is a typical American city, or for that matter even an atypical one.

To which I would add, a bit more controversially, that a society like our own is riven by racial and social and class conflicts that are very difficult to expunge. IOW, the Black dude casually swaggering down the middle of the street isn't being incautious; he's giving a great big "FU" to everyone around him, and rejoices in his power both to do that and to force everyone around him to acquiesce. It's silly as all power games are silly; but never believe that that isn't a motivator, perhaps the prime one.

effinayright said...

'Jaywalking, walking like a jay -- a hick, a rube, someone who doesn't know city ways -- means gawking at the big buildings, gaping at the crowds, blinking at the shop displays . . .'
***************
Don't forget "sunburning your tonsils" while gaping up at the tall buildings.

Readering said...

Just jaywalking in LA to get the bus. No crosswalk for blocks. Bus where I live still a place for masks. But lots of Asians and/or elderly. Not the white driver. I keep one at hand, like to fit in.

Jaywalking a way of life in NYC. Not aware of anyone ever ticketed or affect on crime rates generally. Of course a lot of narrower streets than LA

James K said...

"California greenlights jaywalking. It’s a step in the right direction"

Hasn’t California also greenlit shoplifting? And defecating on the sidewalk?

As others have said, the main reason for laws against jaywalking is, or should be, to provide a defense for drivers who hit a jaywalker. The message should be: cross legally and you’re protected, cross illegally and you’re on your own.

Static Ping said...

I do agree that laws that are enforced unevenly are unfair. That said, taking a politician's word for it, especially a member of a party that seems to think that crime is no big deal and everything is racist, is foolish.

gpm said...

>>Jaywalking a way of life in NYC.

Ditto in Boston. See, e.g., https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2021/10/21/jaywalking-bill/. It's the result of a combo of cultural norms and physical geography. Most streets in Boston are fairly intimate and enclosed by human-scale buildings, not designed for the enhancement of driving (which can, of course, be a bit frustrating when you *are* driving), so careful jaywalking just isn't a big deal.

There's also a state law that a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk without a traffic light has the right of way (I think that's also true in New Hampshire). Which doesn't mean that you just blindly stroll into a crosswalk, assuming everything is copacetic. Most of the unlighted crosswalks are at fairly sleepy intersections where it's not much of an issue. But there's one I use a lot between my apartment and Kenmore Square crossing very busy Beacon Street. There are actually markers in the middle of the street pointing out that pedestrians have the right of way. A lot of drivers are good about it, but others would just as soon mow you down. So, you need to stare down the drivers while being prepared to pause or beat a hasty retreat from the assholes. I sometimes loudly call them out, which probably means I'll be gunned down some day by a lawbreaking asshole.

I was astounded when, in Phoenix some 40 years ago, I was walking around a largely deserted and abandoned downtown section. The few pedestrians there were would stop and wait for a green light before crossing a street when there weren't any cars to see for miles around. Again, a difference in cultural norms.

--gpm

Biff said...

Another law that gaslights people who pay attention to the world around them.

ken in tx said...

I read about an event that took place in Germany. There was a fire and the police and fire dept blocked the street at both ends of a block so there was no traffic on that street. A group of foreigners from a hotel walked out in the street to watch the fire and they were all ticketed for j-walking. Germans knew to watch from the side walk only.

Kevin said...

I think we’ve all missed the point.

Jaywalking in California makes it easier for the taxpayers to avoid the homeless.

Bunkypotatohead said...

In India monkees practically live in the streets. No jaywalking laws apply to the monkees because it wouldn't change their behavior.
The same goes for the bipocs in Calfornia's cities.

Mason G said...

"I was astounded when, in Phoenix some 40 years ago, I was walking around a largely deserted and abandoned downtown section. The few pedestrians there were would stop and wait for a green light before crossing a street when there weren't any cars to see for miles around. Again, a difference in cultural norms."

I lived near downtown in Phoenix for about seven years (up until five years ago) and it wasn't anything like that then. People would walk from one side of the street, stop and stand in the center left turn lane and wait (sometimes) for a break in opposite direction traffic to get to the other side. This was a regular occurrence.

walter said...

Poop on the sidewalk, homeless tent cities lit with supposedly controlled substances...let the yaywalkers be.

glacial erratic said...

I find this an interesting legal theory.

Blacks commit crimes at a much higher rate than the rest of the population. (This is supported by FBI statistics, by the way.) Therefore evenhanded enforcement of the law (say, for jaywalking), will result in arrest and conviction of blacks at a rate higher than that of other ethnicities.

In today's society, that higher rate becomes evidence of "systemic racism". Then "woke" politicians move to decriminalize the crime, thus appeasing the social justice warriors. Society takes another step towards tribalism and anarchy.

Rinse and repeat.

Goldenpause said...

So if pedestrian fatalities and injuries go up will there be an analysis to determine if there is a racial/ethnic disparity among those killed and injured?

Tina Trent said...

As I cite above, there are many decades of studies on racial and ethnic disparities in the policing of driver behavior, of auto accidents, and of pedestrian injuries and deaths. There is no discrimination, bar reverse discrimination against all law abiding citizens. And also the tragedy that less law enforcement leads to more deaths of minorities and other beloved things. Here in Georgia, we pay some of the highest uninsured motorist insurance rates in the nation because of our vast numbers of illegal immigrant drivers. So, Ann, this is fiscal discrimination against my family and all law abiding drivers, and it is not an insubstantial sum.

Accidents caused by illegal immigrants driving their bosses' vehicles, dump trucks, or using fake licenses (I could find one in an hour) along with a scammy insurance agency are also a huge problem here and growing larger. Such drivers usually flee, or in many liberal counties avail themselves of free medical care then flee, or are bonded out and flee, like my child-rapist neighbor did three times with no consequences.

This leaves the injured and dead with little recourse in many cases to be made legally whole. You should see some of the clients of such accidents -- a girl strapped to a wheelchair for life with frontal lobe damage that makes her sexually out-of-control and unable to communicate (the illegals fled the scene); a man with his head sheared off whose survivors can't get proper compensation because of this shell "insurance" firm; legal non-drivers posing as drivers, then everyone disappears, often abetted by courts paid translators.

You probably don't have these expenses or problems. This is the reality all Democrats, most libertarians, and many Republicans impose on us. Laws -- and not enforcing them -- have consequences too. Why do I even have to explain this?

Saint Croix said...

I jaywalked today!

Not sure if it's illegal or not.

Scofflaw is fun, sometimes

Saint Croix said...

Right now my jaywalking keeps me mentally acute, as I realize I might get hit by a car if I'm not careful.

So I did a little jog across the street, even though I was wearing my kick-ass Rainbow leather sandals, and those are not good running shoes.

If I pushed the jaywalking Overton window, my jogging would drop to a fast walk. Or maybe a daring stroll!

Next up, blindfolded jaywalking. Oh shit!