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NY Times: LA Pedestrians Look Forward to Relaxed Jaywalking Law

Source: New York Times

.... Starting Jan. 1, thanks to the “Freedom to Walk” act, people in California will no longer have to worry so much about making a legal misstep when they are safely crossing a street. Signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the act was designed to give pedestrians in the state more leeway. No longer will they be charged with an infraction or fined for crossing outside designated intersections — with the caveat that police officers may still give tickets to pedestrians who are creating a safety hazard, in their view.

.... the policing of pedestrians has overly affected Black and Hispanic walkers, according to supporters of the Freedom to Walk act. Data from the California Racial and Identity Profiling Act shows that Black people in Los Angeles were 3.7 times more likely to be cited for jaywalking than white pedestrians by the Los Angeles Police Department. Phil Ting, a San Francisco assembly member who helped write the “Freedom to Walk” legislation with a fellow assembly member, Laura Friedman of Glendale, said that the state’s uneven enforcement was an impetus behind the reform.

“Unfortunately, the jaywalking laws weren’t being enforced across the state equitably,” Mr. Ting said. “In Beverly Hills we found that in one year they issued 200 jaywalking fines, with nearly all of them going to African Americans. Minority groups don’t need to be harassed by law enforcement. We’ve seen how that can escalate.”