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Jaywalking will become legal in California next year

Posted at 8:48 PM, Oct 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-04 23:48:38-04

Jaywalking will soon become legal across California.

The Freedom to Walk Act allows people to jaywalk without being ticketed as long as they’re not putting themselves or others in danger.

It’s part of a series of new California laws set to take effect in the new year.

Starting in 2023, jaywalkers will no longer risk an expensive ticket for crossing the street outside of a crosswalk or intersection.

“Personally, I think jaywalking is not that big of a deal, it seems like a lot of people do it,” said Cal Poly student Gavin Stoddard. “Crosswalks aren’t super common so they’re just kind of jumping across.”

The Freedom to Walk Act was signed into law by Governor Newsom on Friday.

The bill was authored by Democratic State Assemblyman Phil Ting who represents San Francisco.

“For many people living paycheck to paycheck, getting a ticket where you have to owe a few hundred dollars for simply crossing the street to go to work, to go to school or just pick up some groceries doesn’t make much sense,” Ting told KSBY on Tuesday.

Those in favor of the law say it will encourage more people to walk instead of drive.

They say it will also cut back on hefty fines and police confrontations that impact some areas more than others.

“We’ve seen too often that people get cited for jaywalking in certain low-income neighborhoods or certain types or people get cited much more often than others,” added Ting.

Officers will still be able to cite pedestrians if they unsafely cross the street.

The exception is when a ‘reasonably careful person would realize there is an immediate danger of a collision.”

“I think it’s appropriate, I feel like you shouldn’t be fined just for jaywalking,” said Stoddard.

“I don’t that often but if I am in a rush then yeah, I do jaywalk,” added Cal Poly Student Haley Freeman.

Jaywalking is a common sight in busy areas of San Luis Obispo but some worry that the law will encourage people to take it too far.

“I think it could lead to more accidents or people taking advantage of jaywalking,” said Freeman.

The California Sheriff’s Association is opposed to the legislation, citing a high number of pedestrian deaths in California.

Jaywalking laws were enacted in the 1930s under pressure from the auto industry.