December 7, 2022
California decriminalizes a popular street ‘crime’

A new California law allows pedestrians legally “as long as it is safe to do so,” effective Jan.

The Freedom to Walk Act, signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom (D), says that police officers may continue to refer to pedestrians crossing a street outside a crosswalk “only if a reasonably careful person realizes would be that there is an immediate risk of collision.”

Instead of increasing the safety of pedestrians, jaywalking laws often allow people with racial profiles to police and fines low-income residents, proponents of the new measure say.

Zaal Shroff, senior staff attorney on the Committee of Lawyers for the Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, says, “Now law enforcement will no longer be able to stop people who are crossing the street safely and can put citations and debt burdens on them. Huh.” Told KTLA,

“For too long, our running laws were used to deter and harass people, especially low-income people and people of color. [the law] Will end it and, in doing so, make California safer for pedestrians.”

California Rep.  Phil Ting (D), pictured on a podium in 2017, sponsors the jaywalking bill signed by Governor Gavin Newsom.
California Rep. Phil Ting (D), pictured on a podium in 2017, sponsors the jaywalking bill signed by Governor Gavin Newsom.

Santiago Mejia / San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

State Representative Phil Ting (D), sponsor of the law, Said that it should not be a “criminal offense to cross the road safely”.

Ting said in a statement, “When costly tickets and unnecessary confrontations with police affect only certain communities, it is time to rethink how we use our law enforcement resources and whether our pedestrian laws are Really protect pedestrians.”

“In addition, we should encourage people to get out of their cars and walk for health and environmental reasons.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *