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  • Writer's pictureAlex Maltese

Is It Illegal to Jaywalk in New York? | A Guide for Pedestrians

There are many things that road users take for granted or do so often that they forget that what they are doing may be illegal. However, the law does not change simply because it is routinely broken by many individuals.

This is certainly the case regarding Jaywalking, with many people wondering whether or not it is illegal in New York. With the high number of hit-and-run accidents that occur every year, this is certainly something worth considering.

What Is Jaywalking and Is It Illegal?

What Is Jaywalking and Is It Illegal?

Jaywalking is the act of crossing or walking on the street in any area that is not a designated pedestrian crossing point or walkway. In particular, jaywalking is a disregard of the traffic by pedestrians in a way that puts them in danger of being hit by a passing motor vehicle.

In New York, jaywalking is definitely an illegal and punishable offense. This is according to Section 1152 of New York's Vehicle & Traffic Laws.

However, despite this, jaywalking is still a very common occurrence, to the point that many people would actually be surprised if they are arrested for it.

Dangers of Jaywalking

Besides being illegal, jaywalking puts the lives of pedestrians in great danger from motor vehicles. The following are some of the reasons why a jaywalker is more likely to be hit by a car than any other road user:

  • A driver may not be expecting someone to cross the road in that particular area

  • Jaywalkers are sometimes hit by extra-wide trucks or buses that encroach onto the shoulders of the road

  • Motorists may not see jaywalkers in poorly lit areas of the road

  • A jaywalker can be hit by a car that is swerving to avoid an accident

  • Many jaywalkers are regularly hit by a speeding, drunk, or reckless driver

Why Do Pedestrians Continue to Jaywalk?

Considering how simple the law against jaywalking is, one would expect people to adhere to it, but that is not the case. People continue to jaywalk and put their lives at risk for the following reasons:

  • Impatience is a key factor when people jaywalk because they are in a rush to cross the street and can’t wait for traffic to clear

  • Not knowing the road rules regarding crossing points and walking on the main road

  • Having too few crossing points, which forces people to cross wherever they can

  • Overcrowding in walkways leaving pedestrians to walk outside their designated walkways

  • Some New Yorkers genuinely believe that jaywalking is no longer illegal

  • Intentionally jaywalking because they believe no one will see/arrest them

Common Injuries Suffered by Jaywalkers Hit by Cars

Whenever a jaywalker is hit by a car, they may suffer very serious injuries depending on how fast the car was moving. These are some of the most common injuries that can occur:

  • Traumatic brain injury

  • Concussion

  • Broken bones

  • Lacerations

  • Ruptured spleen, liver, or kidneys

  • Back, neck, and shoulder injuries

  • Cuts, bruises, and road rash

  • Death

Regardless of how mild the injury may look, anyone hit by a car should seek medical attention. Some injuries, such as a concussion or traumatic brain injury may show little to no symptoms until it is too late. A medical report is also very important in any lawsuits that may take place in the future.

Possible Punishments for Jaywalkers

Although some people, such as City Council Member Costa Constantinides, have spoken against the law against jaywalking, it is still a punishable offense. Constantinides called it an archaic law, considering the large number of pedestrians and traffic on the roads of New York.

However, as the law stands, anyone arrested for jaywalking in New York can be fined up to $250.

For legal guidance, contact car accident attorneys in Long Island to schedule a meeting.

Hit by a Car? The Law Office of Carl Maltese Can Help!

Research has shown that jaywalking laws do not improve traffic safety, and has even gone on to suggest that the number of casualties may be increased when the law is strictly enforced.

The Law Office of Carl Maltese is here to help all victims who have been injured after being hit by a car while crossing or walking on the street. We have a panel of expert personal injury attorneys waiting to fight for victims to receive the fair compensation they are entitled to. They can also help provide answers to the laws of driving, such as the legality of driving barefoot in NY or if driving shirtless is allowed in NY.


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