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Have you heard about the Freedom to Walk Act? Here’s how it can affect you as a pedestrian.
Are you constantly in fear of receiving a jaywalking ticket when you’re out on a stroll? Under California’s new law, it might not be an issue anymore. Here are some basic information about jaywalking in California and how these recent changes can affect you as a pedestrian.
What Is Jaywalking?
Jaywalking is defined as crossing streets without using a marked crosswalk, intersection, or any regard for general traffic regulations and signals. It has been considered a dangerous pedestrian behavior, resulting in crashes, injuries, and even fatalities.
Is Jaywalking Legal In California?
As published in the Sun, a recently signed law decriminalizes jaywalking, making it legal in certain settings. Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed AB 214, or the Freedom to Walk Act, into law. Assemblymember Phil Ting of San Francisco wrote this law, which will take effect starting January 1, 2023.
According to AB 2147, jaywalking can become legal if done carefully without any risk of collisions and other dangers. Ting says in a press release, “it should not be a criminal offense to safely cross the street.”
Ting also shared that this law allows us to reconsider how law enforcement use resources and if past jaywalking laws truly protect the best interests of pedestrians.
It means law enforcement can only stop pedestrians if they jaywalked on the street with a present “immediate danger of a collision with a moving vehicle.” Pedestrians are considered in the clear as long as they walk safely and carefully without putting themselves in imminent danger. Ting says this new jaywalking-law amendment will benefit all California citizens. Also, traffic law enforcers can no longer burden pedestrians with unreasonable tickets.
How Does AB 2147 Affect People of Color And Low-Income Communities?
This new law can also stop law enforcement from using jaywalking to harass people, notably those from the low-income sector or people of color. Ting’s press release mentioned the following people of color who suffered after being accused of jaywalking in California:
Senior Policy Advocate for CalBike Jared Sanchez said, “A jaywalking ticket can quickly turn into a potentially life-threatening police encounter, especially for Black people, who are disproportionately targeted and suffer the most severe consequences of inequitable law enforcement.”
Also, this law can help address inadequate infrastructure in some communities across California. Some places, primarily low-income areas, don’t have the resources to install pedestrian crosswalks or crossing buttons where needed. Pedestrians everywhere in California should be able to safely walk across empty streets without being ticketed for jaywalking.
What Road Safety Practices Should You Remember as A Pedestrian?
This new law can help give pedestrians more liberty to walk on the streets of California. However, it’s not a free pass from taking responsibility for your actions. Despite the provisions in this new law, you must still do your part in keeping our roads safe by practicing safe walking habits.
We agree with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in reiterating that, at some point, everyone is a pedestrian. As much as we expect motorists to drive safely, we must walk safely too. Here are some walking safety tips from the NHTSA:
- Abide by road rules, signals, and signs.
- Always walk on sidewalks.
- Use marked crossings or intersections as much as possible.
- Watch out for cars in all directions, such as those attempting to turn before you try crossing a street.
- If there are no designated crosswalks or intersections, find a well-lit part of the street with a good view of traffic. Wait for an opening in traffic that provides ample time for you to get across safely. Also, pay attention to traffic and keep yourself visible when crossing a street.
- Pay attention to your surroundings. Watch out for vehicles backing into parking spaces and entering or exiting driveways.
- Avoid walking while intoxicated or impaired. These can cloud your ability to judge situations and make decisions.
- Walking is an excellent form of transportation that benefits your health. Go out, walk, and stay safe!
Getting Help From A Lawyer After a Pedestrian Accident
This new law can complicate future pedestrian accidents in the context of jaywalking in California. It means you will need reliable legal help if you suffer an injury in a pedestrian collision. Also, you don’t want to hire just any lawyer; you need a pedestrian accident lawyer who can navigate your case, considering new developments with these changing pedestrian traffic laws.
Our attorneys at Jacoby and Meyers have decades of experience. They’ve also successfully maneuvered through various pedestrian accident cases, receiving verdicts and settlements favorable to their clients. Hire one of our lawyers to help you get your well-deserved justice. They can help you build a solid case and give you insight into complicated topics, such as pedestrian accident settlements.
In addition, a pedestrian accident lawyer can help you:
- Prove negligence
- Define the Cost of Damages
- Build a strong claim
- Negotiate a Settlement
- Proceed with important deadlines in mind
Give us a call today at 888-960-0480 for a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you.