Is It True That California Just Legalized Jaywalking?
Jaywalking was just legalized in California, meaning pedestrians can now cross the street outside of a crosswalk without getting a ticket. This is a significant change for the state, which has long had some of the strictest jaywalking laws in the country. The new law is a victory for pedestrian rights advocates, who have been pushing for looser restrictions on crossing the street. They argue that the old rules were unfair to pedestrians and disproportionately enforced in communities of color. Now that jaywalking is legal, pedestrians will have more freedom to move around the state and no longer have to worry about getting a ticket for crossing the street outside a crosswalk so long as they do it safely.
On Friday, September 30th, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2147, the Freedom to Walk Act, which will go into effect on January 1st, 2023. Under the new bill, police will no longer be able to give pedestrians tickets for jaywalking unless the jaywalker is putting themselves or others in an unreasonable amount of danger. This new bill will ease tensions between police and communities by decreasing unnecessary citations and potentially life-threatening confrontations.
For example, in the famous jaywalking case of recording artist Tupac Shakur, a ticket led to a discrimination lawsuit. In October 1991, the rapper claimed that as he was jaywalking near the intersection of 17th and Broadway in downtown Oakland, he was stopped and assaulted by the Oakland Police Department. Shakur sued the department for 10 million dollars but later settled for only $42,000.
Your Rights as a Pedestrian
The Freedom to Walk Act prohibits cities from banning people from walking on public sidewalks and other public spaces with the exception of construction zones and other potentially dangerous cites that may put you or others in harm’s way. This means that people can walk on sidewalks in California without fear of being ticketed or arrested. The Act also requires cities to provide adequate lighting and signage on sidewalks and to keep sidewalks clear of obstacles.
The Freedom to Walk Act is a victory for pedestrians’ rights and will make California a more walkable state. This is good news for public health, as walking is a healthy and environmentally friendly form of transportation. It makes California more pedestrian-friendly, making it a more attractive place to live and visit.
Hit While Jaywalking
In California, jaywalking is now legalized, so drivers cannot use it to defend themselves in an accident case unless the pedestrian was behaving negligently. For example, if the pedestrian was intoxicated, they may be held liable. This means that if a pedestrian is hit by a car while crossing the street, the driver cannot claim that the pedestrian was jaywalking and therefore at fault. The new law will also make it easier for pedestrians to file lawsuits against drivers who hit them since jaywalking will no longer be used as a defense. This is good news for public safety, and it will hopefully lead to fewer pedestrian accidents in California.
A Walker’s Responsibility
It is expected that pedestrians will adhere to reasonable codes of conduct and the guidelines set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These guidelines are in place to help keep pedestrians safe and ensure they can share the roadways safely with motorists. For example, some policies that pedestrians are expected to follow include using crosswalks when available, walking on sidewalks whenever possible, and being visible to drivers near roadways. Additionally, pedestrians should only step in areas with a designated walking path and should only try to cross a highway if they look both ways first. By following these guidelines, pedestrians can help keep themselves safe and make it easier for drivers to see them.
Hire a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Jaywalking laws in California can be confusing and difficult to understand. If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident, it is crucial to hire a pedestrian accident lawyer who can help you navigate the legal system and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV is familiar with the laws in California and can help you understand your rights and options. Call (562) 901-0840 to schedule an immediate consultation.