A new California law allowing pedestrians to legally jaywalk "as long as it is safe to do so," goes into effect Jan. 1.
The Freedom to Walk Act, signed by California Gov. Gavin Newson, says police officers may continie to cite pedestrians crossing a street outside a crosswalk "only when a reasonably careful person would realize there is an immediate danger of a collosion."
According to Huffington Post, instead of enhancing pedestrian safety, jaywalking laws oftern ended up allowing cops to racially profile people and mired low-income residents in fines, backers of the new measure say.
“No longer will law enforcement be able to stop people who are safely crossing the street and burden them with citations and heaps of debt,” Zal Shroff, senior staff attorney at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area said.
“For too long, our jaywalking laws were used as a pretext to stop and harass people, especially low-income people and people of color. The reforms enacted in [the law] will put an end to that and, in doing so, make all of California safer for pedestrians.”
This change will also encourage people to walk instead of driving everywhere, which is healthier for people and the environment.