Sunday Video: Should “Jaywalking” Be Legal?


Dave Amos explains how automobile interests fought against pedestrian rights by concocting “jaywalking”. He also argues that “jaywalking” should be legal.

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Stephen is an urban planner with a passion for sustainable, livable, and diverse cities. He is especially interested in how policies, regulations, and programs can promote positive outcomes for communities. Stephen lives in Kenmore and primarily covers land use and transportation issues for The Urbanist.

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No more Jaywalking laws, no more Jaywalking tickets~ how do does that not lead to more pedestrian injuries and deaths? What ever happened to Vision Zero?


Jaywalking tickets should be reserved for only the most egregious cases, like somebody jumping out in the street in front of a moving car, as a form of suicide.

Routine mid-block crossings when there are no cars, or when all cars are stopping at a red light on the next block, does not do anybody any harm, and should be allowed.

Daniel Thompson

If the police don’t enforce something like jaywalking then it is effectively allowed. Just remember the law on jaywalking is to protect the pedestrian from getting hit by a car, which risks serious injury and death. So be sure to look both ways when jaywalking. You won’t get a ticket but you might get killed.

Daniel Thompson

When was the last time SPD cited someone for jaywalking? I sometimes jaywalk, but when I choose to follow the signals and use crosswalks it is because I don’t want to get hit by a car. I never jaywalk on busy arterials because a pedestrian is going to come out the worse in a collision with a car.

Where I do think jaywalking should be enforced is in dedicated bike lanes because pedestrians either think they have the right of way or just don’t pay attention to bicyclists, although I imagine SPD has more pressing concerns b


Good point about following signals and crosswalks to avoid getting hit by a car (or a truck, or a bus, or a bicycle…). Complete legalization~ no tickets for jaywalking ever, could lead somewhere we don’t want to go. Even current law forbids pedestrians from stepping into a crosswalk in front of a car unable to stop in time.

Douglas Trumm

SPD issued 1,710 jaywalking citations between 2010 and 2016, and one in four tickets were issued to Black people, suggesting enforcement is discriminatory and inequitable in impact. I think the problem with having it on the books but mostly ignoring it, is that the exception tends to target marginalized communities and let police have a pretext to instigate a questionable stop of a person of color. A white man might feel immune to this law, but that’s not how everyone feels. Thanks for reading, Doug Trumm.

David R Bentz

Traffic regulations are obviously not optimized for pedestrians, bicycles, and PEV’s (ebikes, escooters, and eskateboards). Cars are king and everything else is roadkill.