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For almost a century, California has had some of the strictest regulations on jaywalking compared to other states. Now Californians can walk as they wish as long as they are not putting themselves or others in danger. Pedestrians should still exercise caution when jaywalking in California to avoid any injuries.

What is the Freedom to Walk Act?

Historically jaywalking has been a ticketable offense in many places, including California. However, recent legislative changes have blurred the lines of what constitutes jaywalking and its consequences. As of January 2023, you can cross the street anywhere in California even if there is no marked crosswalk if it is safe to do so.  

When is it Safe to Jaywalk?
  • After checking for incoming traffic
    If you are looking to cross an unmarked street, make sure you look both ways before doing so. Never cross the street if you see a vehicle approaching as you may not calculate their accurate speed and can result in an accident.  
  • After you put your phone away
    Minimize your distractions when crossing the street without a crosswalk. It is crucial to be aware of your surroundings when crossing without a light.  
  • No crosswalks are available
    Even though jaywalking is now legalized, still use crosswalks to keep you safe. Jaywalking should be practiced when necessary.   
  • When you are sober
    Impaired walking is just as bad as impaired driving and can result in serious consequences. Walking under the influence not only impairs your judgment but puts you at risk for a public intoxication citation.

Safe Practices for Jaywalking

Be Visible 

Wear light or bright colored clothing if you plan on commuting by foot. When walking at night wear reflective gear to make yourself as visible as possible 

Choose Low-Traffic Areas  

Avoid jaywalking in areas with high speed to decrease your chances of resulting in injury. Try to stick to locations that have a marked crosswalk even if you plan on crossing without the green light. 

Cross Quickly 

When participating in jaywalking you want to make sure to get across as quickly as possible as upcoming cars may not be expecting you to be on the road. 

Who Would be at Fault?  

Even though jaywalking may not carry legal penalties anymore, there are still serious implications to consider. Pedestrians who engage in unsafe jaywalking may find themselves at partial fault in accidents, leading to reduced compensation. Both pedestrians and drivers have a responsibility to exercise caution and follow traffic laws.  

Fielding Law is Here for You

When you participate in jaywalking in California make sure to prioritize your safety and remain aware. If you are hurt due to another person’s negligence, Fielding Law is here to help. Our trusted team is available 24/7 to provide you legal guidance. Call us at 833.88.SHARK for a free consultation 

Note: Information provided is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. Always consult with a qualified attorney for legal concerns.