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  #41  
Old 15 February 2014, 07:00 PM
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Even on busy urban streets, it's often not enforced. I was shocked when I first moved to Boston and my local friends would just walk out into the middle of the road in front of traffic and expect it to stop. They even did this right in front of cops and none of them batted an eye. In LA and New York, it seems like people at least usually wait for a gap in traffic to cross in the middle of the street, and again, I've never heard of anyone getting in trouble for it. Irvine is the only city I know of where people get in trouble for things like jaywalking or riding a bike on the sidewalk. But you can't hang a bird feeder around here without getting the smackdown by your condo association, so this city is a special case.
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  #42  
Old 15 February 2014, 07:05 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Chloe View Post
Wouldn't it be more sensible to just prohibit crossing recklessly, thus allowing sensible adults to cross where they wish?
The problem with that is that it doesn't define "right of way" (ROW). The law(s) define the ROW. A pedestrian, mid-block, with no marked crosswalk, never has the ROW, cars and bicycles have the ROW. At an intersection, unless controlled or otherwise indicated, pedestrians have the ROW.
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  #43  
Old 15 February 2014, 07:07 PM
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Just fuel for the fire, but I do know that jaywalking here falls under municipal bylaws, and as such there is a wide spectrum for what constitutes jaywalking.

In my hometown, jaywalking was* defined as crossing at a crosswalk against a signal. In Winnipeg, it was defined as crossing a street between controlled intersections.

Either way, it was penalised with a ticket.

*when I was living there in the '80s and '90s.
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  #44  
Old 15 February 2014, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy101_again View Post
The problem with that is that it doesn't define "right of way" (ROW). The law(s) define the ROW. A pedestrian, mid-block, with no marked crosswalk, never has the ROW, cars and bicycles have the ROW. At an intersection, unless controlled or otherwise indicated, pedestrians have the ROW.
Well said - but as I told someone who asked in pedestrians have the ROW in crosswalks in Atlanta, having the ROW only helps you in court; it does nothing for you if a vehicle is barreling through.
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  #45  
Old 15 February 2014, 09:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy101_again View Post
The problem with that is that it doesn't define "right of way" (ROW). The law(s) define the ROW. A pedestrian, mid-block, with no marked crosswalk, never has the ROW, cars and bicycles have the ROW. At an intersection, unless controlled or otherwise indicated, pedestrians have the ROW.
But you can cross without ROW. You just do it sensibly, and yield to traffic.
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  #46  
Old 15 February 2014, 09:34 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Chloe View Post
But you can cross without ROW. You just do it sensibly, and yield to traffic.
"Sensibly" is the problem, particularly in a legal sense. Imagine traffic speed laws that said "whatever is sensible is OK". (There are a few places in the world with that law.) The problem is "sense" is surprisingly rare.
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  #47  
Old 15 February 2014, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy101_again View Post
"Sensibly" is the problem, particularly in a legal sense. Imagine traffic speed laws that said "whatever is sensible is OK". (There are a few places in the world with that law.) The problem is "sense" is surprisingly rare.
Other countries seem to manage without jaywalking laws.
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  #48  
Old 15 February 2014, 09:49 PM
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I don't think jaywalking laws are the only right answer; I think they are a possible right answer, as is a law against recklessness by pedestrians. They both have advantages and drawbacks, but I don't think jaywalking laws are any more complicated to understand than the alternative, nor are they significantly more of a burden on walking.
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  #49  
Old 15 February 2014, 09:57 PM
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But they do mean that there is a law that people break all the time (except Lainie) and that is rarely if ever enforced. That seems like a bad thing.
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  #50  
Old 15 February 2014, 10:11 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chloe View Post
Other countries seem to manage without jaywalking laws.
Some do and some don't. On what basis do you use that observation to decide that one method is better than the other?

Some countries that don't have laws have active campaigns to get pedestrians to cross responsibly (instead of assuming that everyone already knows what that means). For example the UK's Green Cross campaigns;

THINK! Find the safest place to cross, then stop.
STOP! Stand on the pavement near the kerb.
USE YOUR EYES AND EARS! Look all around for traffic, and listen.
WAIT UNTIL IT'S SAFE TO CROSS! If traffic is coming, let it pass.
LOOK AND LISTEN! When it's safe, walk straight across the road.
ARRIVE ALIVE! Keep looking and listening (from Green Cross Code)

In jurisdiction without jaywalking laws who is at fault when a pedestrian gets flattened is left up to the courts who must decide "reasonableness" of what the driver and pedestrian did often without anything other than the testimony of the two people involved.
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  #51  
Old 15 February 2014, 10:24 PM
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Thank you for explaining the Green Cross Code campaign to me.

Surely if a pedestrian is supposed to yield to road traffic, doesn't, and is hit, it's not that difficult to figure out who is at fault. I'm not sure why having a law that you shouldn't cross there ever, which is often broken and only enforced in the case of an accident or an officer in a really bad mood, is any better than having a law that pedestrians yield to traffic when they cross the road without a marked crosswalk.
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  #52  
Old 15 February 2014, 11:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chloe View Post
Thank you for explaining the Green Cross Code campaign to me.

Surely if a pedestrian is supposed to yield to road traffic, doesn't, and is hit, it's not that difficult to figure out who is at fault. I'm not sure why having a law that you shouldn't cross there ever, which is often broken and only enforced in the case of an accident or an officer in a really bad mood, is any better than having a law that pedestrians yield to traffic when they cross the road without a marked crosswalk.
I used to work for a traffic survey company, and one job I did one day was to count the number of people that crossed a city road away from the lights. It ended up being 3,000 people in a 12 hour time frame. Funny though, I now drive past that spot years later and nothing was changed regarding the layout of the road or signs.
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  #53  
Old 15 February 2014, 11:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chloe View Post
But they do mean that there is a law that people break all the time (except Lainie) and that is rarely if ever enforced. That seems like a bad thing.
I agree. I think having laws that are generally unenforced gives police too much discretion to harass people they don't like the looks of and breeds contempt for the law.
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  #54  
Old 16 February 2014, 12:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
What exactly do you think constitutes jaywalking?
I used to assume it meant deliberately (or obliviously) wandering about in the middle of the road obstructing traffic, which also isn't a crime here in itself but makes a certain amount of sense. When I found out that it means "crossing the road in the 'wrong place'" ('wrong place' being legally defined) I was surprised.

(eta) I read an interesting history of jaywalking-as-a-crime on the BBC a few days ago, which, while it was nothing to do with my surprise or opinion (formed a while ago) might have influenced my previous post. Here it is:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26073797

Quote:
Jaywalking: How the car industry outlawed crossing the road

The idea of being fined for crossing the road at the wrong place can bemuse foreign visitors to the US, where the origins of so-called jaywalking lie in a propaganda campaign by the motor industry in the 1920s.
As I said, that was already my own, independently-formed, impression and opinion, but this at least shows I'm not alone.

Last edited by Richard W; 16 February 2014 at 12:14 AM.
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  #55  
Old 16 February 2014, 12:27 AM
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As a more general point, I guess Elkhound's argument rubbed me up the wrong way because arguments of the form "You have a right to [X]. You do not have a right to [the things that make X possible]" seem to crop up a bit from the USA (I think it's something to do with your constitution) and they always seem to me to be missing the point a bit. "You have the right to eat. You do not have the right to food." A lot of the time it seems like people think it's only bad for the government to restrict freedom, and don't care whether anybody else does it. Although in the case of jaywalking it's the government anyway, and nobody minds - presumably because "the right to walk" isn't in your constitution. It probably seemed obvious at the time.
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  #56  
Old 16 February 2014, 02:55 AM
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I had a big long post about my experience as a pedistrian in Australia but the internet ate it so I try again later.
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  #57  
Old 16 February 2014, 02:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
I agree. I think having laws that are generally unenforced gives police too much discretion to harass people they don't like the looks of and breeds contempt for the law.
Selective enforcement of things like jaywalking probably happens more often than you think - selective by area. I don't think that many, if any, receive tickets for jaywalking in suburban areas, but there are notable "high enforcement" areas. While visiting Portland, Oregon, my local resident host warned me about this in the downtown area, as several accidents caused by irresponsible pedestrians led to the "high-enforcement" area. For this to be fair and universal, there should be signs to the effect that it is a high-enforcement area for jaywalking. I haven't seen mention of anyone in downtown New York City being ticketed for jaywalking in any of the NYC-based TV fiction I've seen, and when you consider how common this is, you'd think that it would be revisited in police dramas and sitcoms alike.

But to say that this "breeds contempt for the law" is a bit hyperbolic. Some laws exist only to preserve order or reduce chaos, and are not at all in the same league as laws which preserve peace, safety, and human life. Consider driving solo in a car-pool lane - it can be done safely and if only a small number of people do it, there isn't even any harm done. However, not controlling the number of people in that car pool lane will eventually defeat its purpose. I'd say that the law against jaywalking prevents not only injury to the person violating the law, but the potential for more serious accidents by vehicles attempting to *avoid* pedestrians. But if there is no car coming down the road, breaking this law has no impact on anyone. (Not the same as speeding along an empty road, as excessive speed can still harm the driver.)
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  #58  
Old 16 February 2014, 05:55 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chloe View Post
Surely if a pedestrian is supposed to yield to road traffic, doesn't, and is hit, it's not that difficult to figure out who is at fault.
The point is that the pedestrian isn't required to yield to traffic.The Green Cross statements are meant to keep the pedestrian safe, not to keep them legal. You can be legal and get splattered. You can not insist on ROW and keep from getting splattered. The Green Cross is about the latter, not the former.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chloe View Post
Thank you for explaining the Green Cross Code campaign to me.
You are welcome. BTW, I didn't "explain" it, I quoted it.
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  #59  
Old 16 February 2014, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chloe View Post
But they do mean that there is a law that people break all the time (except Lainie) and that is rarely if ever enforced. That seems like a bad thing.
I'm sure I've jaywalked at lot in the past, especially when I was a kid. These days, if I'm walking along a street, it's usually in an area where I'm never far from a crosswalk and wouldn't consider it safe to cross between intersections.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
A lot of the time it seems like people think it's only bad for the government to restrict freedom, and don't care whether anybody else does it.
Ah, on that, we're agreed, I didn't get your drift and just thought "crossing the road" was far too broad a definition of jaywalking.
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  #60  
Old 16 February 2014, 09:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy101_again View Post
The point is that the pedestrian isn't required to yield to traffic.The Green Cross statements are meant to keep the pedestrian safe, not to keep them legal. You can be legal and get splattered. You can not insist on ROW and keep from getting splattered. The Green Cross is about the latter, not the former.
That is incorrect; it is actually about both. Pedestrians can be charged with recklessness for not yielding to traffic.
Quote:
You are welcome. BTW, I didn't "explain" it, I quoted it.
Then you missed the most quotable part: "I won't be there when you cross the road."
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