California News

Jaywalking decriminalized under new California law

Under a new law, Californians will be able to cross the street outside a formal intersection without having a ticket.

Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday signed the Freedom to Walk Act, which says pedestrians can be ticketed for jaywalking – or crossing outside an intersection – only if there is an “immediate danger of collision” , the statement said.

The law, drafted by Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco, will take effect Jan. 1.

It amends the state’s vehicle code to “prohibit a peace officer … from stopping a pedestrian for specified traffic violations unless a reasonably prudent person becomes aware that he there is an immediate danger of collision with a moving vehicle”.

A similar bill that Ting introduced in the previous legislative session was vetoed by Newsom, who said he feared it would “unintentionally reduce pedestrian safety.” The governor, however, said at the time that “the uneven enforcement of jaywalking laws and the use of minor infractions like this as a pretext to arrest people of color…is unacceptable and must be addressed.”

Four years ago, Chinedu Okobi died after being repeatedly shocked by San Mateo County sheriff’s deputies trying to arrest him for jaywalking in Millbrae. And in 2020, an Orange County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed Kurt Reinhold after arresting him for allegedly jaywalking. Both Okobi and Reinhold were black. No charges were brought against the deputies.

California Daily Newspapers

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