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Jaywalking means violating pedestrian traffic laws, most often by crossing a street illegally. While jaywalking is a low level offense, it can draw fines in most if not all jurisdictions.

What Laws Cover Jaywalking?

States define jaywalking differently. Jaywalking laws, typically enacted as pedestrian regulations within a states traffic laws, cover a wide variety of behavior. Local jurisdictions often enact jaywalking laws which are more stringent than state laws.

What Do Jaywalking Laws Prohibit ?

Jaywalking laws require that pedestrians obey traffic control signals unless otherwise instructed by law enforcement. For example, beginning to cross the street at an intersection with a Dont Walk sign flashing would violate jaywalking laws.

In addition to traffic signals, jaywalking laws dictate how pedestrians may legally cross the street when no signals are present. Many states require that pedestrians cross only at crosswalks, which can be designated by white lines, or can be unmarked. An unmarked crosswalk is simply an area around 10 to 15 feet wide between two adjacent street corners.

Some state and local laws allow pedestrians to cross certain streets outside of a crosswalk, but require pedestrians to yield to any vehicles when doing so. Generally, pedestrian traffic rules require that pedestrians yield to motorists any time they are outside of a crosswalk.

Many local jaywalking laws forbid crossing an intersection diagonally, unless traffic signals specifically allow diagonal crossing.

Many jaywalking laws forbid walking in the street when a sidewalk is available. Disregarding signs or barricades put up to guide pedestrians also constitutes jaywalking.

Penalties for Jaywalking

Depending on the jurisdiction, jaywalking is either aninfractionor amisdemeanor. Police enforce jaywalking laws by issuing citations. The penalty for violating jaywalking laws typically includes a fine similar to a parking ticket. In many jurisdictions, fines increase with repeat jaywalking offenses.

Related Offenses

Should a jaywalking incident put others into danger, the jaywalker may also be charged with additional offenses such as reckless endangerment. If a jaywalker disrupts traffic, he or she may also facedisorderly conduct ordisturbing the peace charges.

Jaywalking and Accidents

In lawsuits arising from injuries to a pedestrian, defendants often claim that thenegligenceof the pedestrian caused or at least contributed to the accident. Evidence that a pedestrian plaintiff was jaywalking may be presented by the defense to provecontributory or comparative negligence meaning the plaintiff, at least in part, caused his or her injury. This can limit or prevent the plaintiff from recovering for injuries through a lawsuit.

Seattle officer punches girl in face during jaywalking stop

SEATTLE -- Seattle police are investigating what they call an assault of an officer in South Seattle. However, a police officer is seen punching a 17-year-old girl in the face during the incident captured by a video camera on Monday.

According to Seattle police, the incident began when an officer spotted a man jaywalking in the 3100 block of Martin Luther King, Jr. Way S. at approximately 3:10 p.m. The man was some 15 feet away from a pedestrian overpass, police said.

The officer was talking to the man when he saw four young women jaywalk across the same street at the same spot. The officer asked the women to step over to his patrol car, but the women were being "verbally antagonistic toward the officer," according to officials.

One of the women, later identified as a 19 year old, began to walk away from the scene despite the officer's instructions, prompting the officer to walk over to her and escort her back to his patrol car.

The girl then "began to tense up her arm, and pull away from the officer while yelling at him," investigators said. The officer told the girl to place her hands on his patrol car, but she refused. When the officer tried to grab hold of her, "she pulled away and twisted, breaking free of the officer's grip several times," the blotter report said.

When the officer tried to handcuff the girl, another girl, this one 17 years old, intervened and placed her hands on the officer's arm, "causing the officer to believe she was attempting to physically affect the first subject's escape," police said.

The officer pushed back the second girl, but the girl came back at him. The officer then punched her, police said.

The officer then handcuffed the 19-year-old woman. Other officers arrived and helped handcuff the second girl.

Both teens were cited for jaywalking. The older suspect was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of obstructing an officer. The 17-year-old girl was booked into the Youth Service Center for investigation of assault of an officer.

Nobody was injured during the incident, police said.

Seattle police have not reviewed the video of the incident. Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said investigators may review the video on Tuesday.

Whitcomb said the officer involved in the incident sent out a call for help, prompting other officers to rush to his aid.

All use of force on the job is reviewed, Whitcomb said, as use of force is under the officer's discretion. He added that punching is a trained tactic.

"There will be a thorough investigation into this incident," he said.

Chartworthy: Where Your Jaywalking Ticket Money Goes

The hullaballoo about "zero tolerance" on downtown jaywalking tickets was loud and long and unresolved in our comments. Is the city greedy and overcharging? Or is there more to the story? Now there's a chart to either fuel your frustration or quell your qualms.

Blogdowntown has put together a fantastic chart using Los Angeles Superior Court data that helps answer the $190 question: where does that money go? Turns out, the base fine for a ticket is only $25 and the rest of the money travels farther and wider than you might have expected.

A portion of your ticket goes to state construction funds, DNA identification funds and auto fingerprint ID funds. Nothing that involves walking across the street when the hand begins to turn red.

Only $22.54 cents of your $190 jaywalking ticket goes the City of Los Angeles. The rest goes to the State of California. A finance specialist working for the city notes that the ticket fees don't even pay the salaries of the officers who issue the tickets.

Does this data it make the big fine more palatable to all you past, present and future jaywalkers? Or just as angry as before?

There has to be a limited on how much control and rationale, other people have on your life. As an example, the Law "Jaywalking" is just one of the many Laws in place to control people. It about forcing people to cross a street at a designated time and not before. The Law, in Massachusetts, seems to be out-of-whack and not even the police can understand it. I say that, because of my experience of this morning(04-26-2010).

There happens to be city workers working on the Gas and Water pipes, at the end of my street. At the end of the street I live on is a four-way lighting system, but today the lights are not in operation and a Police officer is directing traffic. It is also key for you to know a little bit more about my experience with the Law "Jaywalking" and my run in with the police of my small town community. The city I live in has about 20-30,000 people living in it and the Law of "Jaywalking" was applied to me, as an individual, when a police officer, while still inside his vehicle stopped me while I was crossing the street, at a designated time of my own choosing.Too Many Unenforceable Laws on the Books!Source: Raymond ChoiniereMassachusetts Law - JaywalkingThe police officer stopped me and pointed out the fact that I was breaking the Law and if he wanted to, could fine me or give me a ticket for improperly following the Law.

I found this absurd. Not to mention, an invasion of my right to life. I do not consider myself to be one of those types of people who need to be guided by other people.

To me, I have the proper knowledge I require to make the assessment of when I am going to cross a street. Usually, I make that decision when I need to cross the street and not before.

I asked the police officer if he was kidding and he did not take to kindly to me question his ability of telling me that I was wrong about crossing. He considered me to be a smart ass with an attitude, who was giving him some lip.

I found that to be quite entertaining, but he did not. However, on this nice brisk morning, I was walking down the sidewalk, which is on the side of the street I live on and as I reached the end of the street the police officer was handling the traffic.Judicial System Is In Need of Re-vamping!Source: Raymond ChoiniereJaywalking - Unenforceable Law Now, since I have had a run in with a police officer about this particular topic before, then I knew what the Law says about doing it.

But, apparently there are inconsistencies within the police department of the city I live in, because I have been told that "Jaywalking" is crossing the street at any time, whenever you are not at a corner.

Well, I reached the end of my street and the police officer asked me if I wanted to cross. The first notion in my head, wanted to tell them- "No, I do not want to cross the street, I just walked to the end of my street for no apparent reason", but I did not want to piss off the police officer, so I simply said "Yes sir, I would like to cross over to the other side".

I made it a point to point to where I wanted to go, but he refused to let me cross and forced me to cross within the "white lines"/"crosswalk", while telling me that I cannot Jaywalk. I told him straight up that I would not be Jaywalking if I crossed the street corner to corner.Too Many Laws Control Citizens Rights!Source: Raymond ChoiniereJaywalking - A System of ControlHe told me that I had to cross in the white lines and then to do it again, so I could get to the side of the street I wanted to be on. I said to him, you are kidding right? He said, "No sir".

So, I purposely crossed as he instructed me, but when it came time to cross the street yet again, to get where I wanted to be, I continued to walk straight down the street, while he was yelling at me to cross.

I told him precisely where I wanted to go and he was holding traffic so that I could make the second crossing without incident. However, I refused to listen to him, because of his own lack of knowledge of the Laws in which he himself enforces.

As I continued to walk down the street, I reached a point where I was going to pass the building I wanted to get to, so I broke the Law to cross the street, which by the way, was not dangerous, because there was no traffic coming, from either direction.Citizens Rights Manipulated By Laws!Source: Raymond ChoiniereSelf Responsibility of Human RightsAfter I reached my destination and left the building, I am thinking to myself about the wonderful choice words I had wanted to say to him, upon my return. He purposely worked his way toward me and asked if I was crossing again.

I said yes and I crossed the street without waiting for him to tell me to do so and as I am crossing he made a comment, which I will not repeat, but I(with sunglasses on my face) turned to him and started to laugh, and shake my head side to side, as if it was completely unbelievable.

To me, as an individual person, an American citizen, who has the right to life and right to choose, can certainly determine when crossing the street is safest. I do so, because as a child I was a good kid and listened to my parents when they taught me about safety.

I understand that there are plenty of people who have trouble determining what is in their best interest and that is the primary reason for the Law in the first place. The Law, in and of, itself is completely unenforceable, by all stretches of the imagination, unless you go to an extreme.Jaywalking - Government ControlIn all seriousness, I do understand why there are a great many Laws for citizens to abide by, but many of them are absurd and cannot ever have full enforcement, simply because it is an invasion of a person right to life and right to choose.

No matter what I think about it, the Law is a direct violation of a person's rights to live their life. The people who do break the Law are never ticketed or fined, unless a police officer wants to make a statement or feed their own ego by hassling the common person.

Well, I guess I am going to end this minor rant here and let the chips fall where they may. It is simple to understand the reasoning for having the Law, but since the Law cannot be enforced, it simple is just a matter of control.

Who is in control? You or Someone Else.

There are 970 miles of streets in Spokane. Along them there are some 650 miles of missing sidewalks, if you consider both sides of the street. Where sidewalks exist, there often aren’t accessible ramps at intersections, and businesses and homeowners often neglect to clear them in the winter. Advocates for people with disabilities say the condition of sidewalks is a major barrier for many who want to live more independently.

“They can be very atrocious or perfectly wonderful,” said Muriah Barela, who uses an electric wheelchair. “It’s kind of a crapshoot.”

Barela, who is an independent living adviser for the Coalition of Responsible Disabled, said some wheelchair users have gotten used to riding into streets when lack of ramps or broken sidewalks block their paths.

“There are also those such as myself who don’t go out a lot without someone else because they don’t feel safe,” said Barela, who worries she could tip and get stranded while detouring into streets, and so relies almost entirely on paratransit services.

The city is developing two plans to address the city’s sidewalk deficiencies. One is the city’s pedestrian plan, which will detail priorities for improving sidewalks as money becomes available. Another is a plan for complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act – a plan that is required but was either lost or never written. Additionally, the City Council may consider an ordinance in the coming months that would make it more difficult for the city to skip fixing sidewalks when rebuilding a street.

The Spokane City Council sparked a debate on sidewalks earlier this year when it narrowly voted to set aside 10 percent of the revenue from the city’s new vehicle tab tax to pay for sidewalks. Supporters said it was time to dedicate a source of money to the city’s neglected pedestrian routes. Opponents said there is too much backlog in street needs to earmark money for walkers.

Jaywalking means violating pedestrian traffic laws, most often by crossing a street illegally. While jaywalking is a low level offense, it can draw fines in most if not all jurisdictions.
============ Sorry Lady But You are Under Arrest For Jay Walkimg Now !

Filling in the gaps won’t be easy. Property owners generally are responsible for sidewalks, and in many cases the city would have to purchase additional property to install them, said Dave Steele, a city planner working on the pedestrian plan. So part of the goal of the pedestrian plan is to focus on areas with the most need, such as neighborhoods near schools, parks, heavily used bus stops and commercial districts.

Eldon Brown, principal engineer of developer services who started work with the city in 1976, said missing sidewalks are the result of old rules that allowed the city engineer to determine if sidewalks would be required for certain projects.

“There were a lot of exceptions that were granted,” Brown said.

That law was tightened in the 1980s to make it difficult to grant builder exceptions for sidewalk requirements.

There are missing sidewalks throughout the city, but mostly in areas developed in the 1950s and ’60s, especially around Shadle Park and in southeast Spokane, Steele said.

Kerry Brooks, an associate professor of landscape architecture at Washington State University-Spokane, has studied sidewalks in Spokane with the help of a federal grant through the Spokane Transit Authority.

The goal was to determine barriers to people with disabilities using the bus.

“Just because you get off at an accessible bus stop, could you actually get to your destination?” said Brooks, who also is a city plan commissioner. “In the ideal world you should be able to walk everywhere there is a road and not feel in danger.”

Kitty Hennessey, who lives with her family near Ferris High School, attended an open house about the pedestrian plan this summer to express concern about the lack of sidewalks between Ferris High School and Chase Middle School, along 37th Avenue.

She called the situation “awful” and said she is concerned a student will be killed or severely injured.

“The traffic has increased in intensity and there are no sidewalks,” she said.

More controversial is the complete street ordinance. The City Plan Commission will consider it on Dec. 14.

Councilman Jon Snyder said he’s hopeful it will come to a City Council vote by the end of the year.

The proposal would in part require that infrastructure detailed in the pedestrian and bicycle plans be installed during major reconstruction projects. Any project funded by the street bond approved in 2004 would be exempt, but not projects paid by a new bond, which may go on a ballot in the next few years. Minor repaving projects would only force the city to paint stripes designating bike or pedestrian lanes, as called for in the two plans.

Councilman Bob Apple argues that a complete street rule would doom a future bond vote because citizens can afford to pay for only so much.

“The problem is, where do you stop?” Apple said.

The current bond project has generally paid only for street pavement. An exception has been to install accessible sidewalk ramps at intersections.

But Snyder said skipping sidewalks is shortsighted and financially irresponsible. A lack of sidewalks forces governments to spend more on bus services for people with disabilities, for instance. And some areas are limited in development because of missing infrastructure such as fire hydrants, he said. He added that some grants require cities to have complete street rules on the books to qualify for funding.

The current makeup of the council could shift at the end of the year. One of the biggest supporters on the council for complete streets, Councilman Richard Rush, is trailing former councilman Mike Allen by 98 votes. The race is headed for a recount. Without Rush on the council, it’s unclear a complete streets ordinance could be approved.

Mayor-elect David Condon said he needs to see the proposal before commenting. Council President-elect Ben Stuckart said he supports moving ahead before the new council is seated.

“Streets should be built for all users,” Stuckart said.

But Councilman-elect Mike Fagan said the ordinance would prohibit voters from having a choice between a tax for streets only and a tax that would include sidewalks and other amenities.

“I believe that there are a lot higher priorities in the city between now and the end of the year,” Fagan said.

Kevin Daniel, executive director of the Inland Northwest Lighthouse, a nonprofit manufacturing firm that provides jobs to people who are blind, stressed that sidewalks benefit more than just those who have disabilities.

“People being able to see Spokane as a livable city is important to all of us as we grow,” Daniel said.

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