people talk about pedestrian violations, they immediately think
of "jaywalking". This popular term usually describes a fit and
fast person dashing across a street in the "wrong" place. Jaywalking
is disorderly in appearance and can disrupt traffic, but it
is not a big factor in pedestrian death and injury.
The Seattle Police Department vigorously enforced the anti-jaywalking
laws in that city for 50 years, issuing more than 500,000 citations.
Seattle's pedestrian crash experience was little different from
the rest of the USA where little or no attention was paid to
Jaywalking enforcement may have a place in eliminating disorder
in a city. New York City is working on jaywalking as a public
order issue. It is not an effective safety strategy. Jaywalking
enforcement is often episodic and inconsistent but is always
widely seen as a waste of police manpower. Many police administrators
start jaywalk enforcement programs to their later regret!
Police officers should ask themselves "why do I expect pedestrians
to go to a crosswalk? Do drivers behave differently there, yielding?"
Officers should make the crosswalk attractive. Pedestrians might
then find value in going to them.
There are reasonable enforcement targets out there:
Enforcement action can be a verbal warning or a citation.
- Pedestrians who push through a crowd of people waiting
for a "walk" light and cross illegally.
- Pedestrians who enter a stream of traffic and disrupt
- Pedestrians who "dash out" into the path of oncoming
- Pedestrians who are drunk (take to a place of safety).