Stateline: Racial Justice, Pedestrian Safety Fuel Jaywalking Debate

Source: Stateline

For nearly a century, jaywalking has been illegal in most states and localities. But several recent reports have shown that police in some areas disproportionately ticket people of color. And critics say citing people for crossing at the wrong place just gives them another reason to drive instead of walk.

... This year, Democratic Assembly Member Phil Ting, the original bill’s sponsor, refiled a version of it, but worked with Newsom’s administration to make modifications. Rather than striking the jaywalking law, the measure passed by the Assembly this spring—dubbed the Freedom to Walk Act—would prohibit police from citing pedestrians for jaywalking if the road is clear and it is safe to cross.

“We make it much more clear about when an officer can cite someone or not,” Ting said. “It’s really whether there’s an immediate danger.

“We want more and more people to get out of their cars and walk,” he added. “Getting a citation is a big disincentive.”