Let my people walk!

How We Have Criminalized Walking

This comes to us from law professor and transportation activist Michael Lewyn, who recently published “The Criminalization of Walking” in the University of Illinois Law Review.   It focuses on two ways the government punishes pedestrians: through jaywalking laws and by using child neglect laws to punish parents who let their kids walk. Here’s a relevant bit for us!

The Criminalization of Walking by Michael Lewyn

Anti-jaywalking statutes punish walkers for the simple act of crossing the street, by imposing fines and even imprisonment for anyone who crosses a street in midblock, or who crosses at an intersection without specific authorization from a traffic light.  These laws were first proposed by auto-industry lobbyists in the 1920s , who sought to deflect blame for pedestrian/automobile crashes by claiming that these laws make pedestrians safer.
But this claim is questionable, for two reasons.  First, a pedestrian who crosses at a traffic light may be protected from head-on crashes, but has no protection against motorists turning left and right into the intersection.  By contrast, someone who crosses in midblock need only worry about directly approaching traffic.  Second, to the extent that anti-jaywalking laws discourage walking, they impair public safety by increasing auto-induced air pollution, and by making drivers less likely to expect pedestrians and thus less careful. Because places without anti-jaywalking laws (most notably the United Kingdom ) tend to have relatively low pedestrian death rates, I propose abolition of such laws.
Child neglect laws generally prohibit any parental act or omission that risks serious harm to a child.  Police officers and child-protection agencies sometimes interpret these laws to punish parents who allow their children to walk to school or other destinations, based on the assumption that any minor unaccompanied by parents is easy prey for predators of various types.
This assumption is flawed for a variety of reasons.  First, crime against children is quite rare; violent crime against children generally has decreased by 77 percent between 1994 and 2010, and kidnapping of children by strangers in particular is so rare that a parent would have to leave the child outside, unattended, for 500,000 years before such an abduction became likely.
Second, parents who drive their children to all destinations may actually impair the child’s health, because the lack of exercise contributes to obesity and other ailments. One recent study of Toronto children showed that children who are allowed to travel on their own are 20 percent more physically active than other children, and thus are less likely to suffer from obesity and similar problems.  And since more than 90% of child abuse is perpetrated by someone the child knows, it is family and friends, rather than strangers, who pose the bigger threat to kids, so getting them out of the house and into the community makes them safer, not less safe. 
Third, parental chauffering harms the the health of the public as a whole, because more cars on the road mean more car crashes and more automobile-induced air pollution.
As a remedy, my article discusses two approaches:  clarifying child neglect statutes to give slightly more guidance to police and prosecutors (by specifying a variety of factors to be considered in determining the likelihood of harm to a child), and a bright-line rule providing that local governments may not punish parents for allowing their children to travel on foot, bus or bicycle to schools or other destinations.
Amen! Pass the Free-Range Kids Bill of Rights! Let kids go outside again without their parents getting arrested!

.

Let my people walk!

.

, ,

Leave a Reply

48 Responses to How We Have Criminalized Walking

  1. Rebel mom June 16, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

    So many good points, so much truth here! Hurrah!

  2. sam June 16, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

    This article makes no sense to anyone who lives in NYC. Jaywalking is not only a right, it’s expected. I also see kids on the subway frequently by themselves or in groups from I’m guessing to/from school. My 13-year-old is about to start taking the subway by herself to/from school. I don’t understand the whole concept of make the children afraid to be independent. No wonder they’re living at home until they’re 30. Yes, I know, it’s tough to find a job. Not discounting that, but if we empower them to be afraid, we’re telling them it’s okay to be scared all the time.

  3. Puzzled June 16, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

    kidnapping of children by strangers in particular is so rare that a parent would have to leave the child outside, unattended, for 500,000 years before such an abduction became likely.

    I think the statistics are being stated incorrectly, or at least not very precisely.

  4. James Pollock June 16, 2017 at 12:31 pm #

    “a bright-line rule providing that local governments may not punish parents for allowing their children to travel on foot, bus or bicycle to schools or other destinations.”

    The problem with such a rule, and the reason I would oppose a bright-line rule, is that there ARE places where it is unsafe to walk or bike to school. Get the infrastructure resolved first. Or make it a presumption rather than a bright-line rule (in other words, make the prosecutor prove that the child was actually in identifiable danger, rather than a vague “but something bad could happen!” danger.)

  5. C. S. P. Schofield June 16, 2017 at 12:40 pm #

    Mr. Pollock,

    Your answer falls into the “no freedom until society is perfect” falicy. It puts the decision of how much freedom to allow children in themhands of ‘experts’, and anyone who thinks about it knows that ‘experts’ means unelected bureaucrats whose primary motivation is to be fireproof.

  6. Reziac June 16, 2017 at 12:48 pm #

    “there ARE places where it is unsafe to walk or bike to school.”

    Yeah, so? Teach your kids to be aware of their surroundings and to avoid trundling through the middle of unsafe places. Problem solved!

    You can’t kid-proof the world. But you can world-proof your kids.

  7. David N. Brown June 16, 2017 at 1:08 pm #

    Reading this reminded me of a Ray Bradbury story called “The Pedestrian”, where the whole plot (spoiler?) is the protagonist being arrested for going for a walk. Looked it up, and found out this was all the way back in 1951.

  8. Craig Lewis June 16, 2017 at 1:40 pm #

    I came to mention “The Pedestrian”, but Mr. Brown beat me to it. That story is obliquely referenced in “Fahrenheit 451”, also by Ray Bradbury.

    My copy of “Fahrenheit 451” (the 60th anniversary edition) has some author’s notes and letters that explicitly mention the reference. It’s been a little while since I read it, so I may be misquoting here. I believe that Ray Bradbury says that “The Pedestrian” was incomplete, and that “Fahrenheit 451” is what resulted when he continued to think about that society.

    If you haven’t read “Fahrenheit 451”, I highly recommend a version with Neil Gaiman’s introduction. He does a wonderful job of setting the stage for this retro-futuristic science fiction.

  9. Judas Peckerwood June 16, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

    I grew up in the Northeast, where jaywalking was a way of life. Now I live in the Pacific Northwest, where it seems like NOBODY jaywalks, except me. It’s hilarious to jaywalk in front of a gang of tough-looking hooligans who are obediently waiting for the light to change when there are no cars in sight — they look at me in horror like I just gunned down somebody in the street.

  10. Anna June 16, 2017 at 1:51 pm #

    “This article makes no sense to anyone who lives in NYC. Jaywalking is not only a right, it’s expected.”

    You should visit Toronto, where it’s even better: on many downtown streets, pedestrians are actively encouraged to cross anywhere they wish (after pointing to indicate their intention to do so) throughout extensive zones rather than at specific crosswalks, with signage reminding drivers that they have to stop when a pedestrian indicates their intention to cross. I’ve never lived anywhere else with such a vibrant street life and such high walkability. Prioritize people over machines – what a concept!

    I wonder how much the criminalization of jay-walking has contributed to the general unawareness in American drivers that they are actually obliged to yield to pedestrians and stop to allow them to cross at almost all intersections that lack traffic lights. I find most Americans seem to think pedestrians are in the wrong to cross at any time except in a complete absence of vehicular traffic, which is incorrect and also obviously impracticable.

  11. Mark Roulo June 16, 2017 at 2:17 pm #

    “Prioritize people over machines – what a concept!”

    Presumably these machines have people inside them, so it would be more accurate to say, “Prioritize people outside of machines over people in machines — what a concept!”

  12. James Pollock June 16, 2017 at 2:19 pm #

    “Your answer falls into the ‘no freedom until society is perfect’ falicy.”

    Well, it would if you had a near-total misunderstanding of the point.

    Funny thing about freedom… we can’t all have it for all things. One person’s freedom will invariably impinge on someone else’s freedom… this is usually illustrated as “your freedom to swing your arms ends at the end of my nose”. So government spends a lot of time balancing freedoms. Your right to practice with your Black-Sabbath tribute band vs. my right to sleep. Your right to use firearms vs. my right not to get shot. And so on, and so on, with millions of balancings between one person’s right to do something, and another person’s right not to be affected by it.

    If you had an intention of shielding people who intentionally place their child in real, unjustifiable danger from being punished for it, in the name of “freedom”, you could pass a blanket proscription on punishing people for their choices in how to raise their kids. You’d ALSO be ignoring the rights of the children if you did this. Maybe you’re OK with this (“Kids? Ha! Why would THEY have rights before they become adults?”)
    I am not.

    “Yeah, so? Teach your kids to be aware of their surroundings and to avoid trundling through the middle of unsafe places. Problem solved!”

    Sure, problem solved for you, because you take the time to teach your kids properly, and for me, because I did, too. But the crackheads down the street who haven’t taken the time to teach their kids things like “don’t shortcut through the trainyard because the trains move by themselves” or “Don’t run across the highway”… they didn’t. Those misguided religious folks who said “We trust in God. If the kids get run over by cars, it’s His will. We’ll just make another one.”… they didn’t. The political nut who believes that, since he didn’t personally agree to the laws, they don’t apply to him (or his kids)… guess whose kids aren’t waiting for the stoplights to cross the street?

    So… sorry to burst your buttle, but problem not solved!

  13. Anna June 16, 2017 at 2:27 pm #

    ‘Presumably these machines have people inside them, so it would be more accurate to say, “Prioritize people outside of machines over people in machines — what a concept!”’

    Actually, I stand by my wording. Prioritizing people in machines over people not in machines – as many of our laws and customs currently do – makes no sense, unless you’re actually prioritizing machines as such. From any other point of view –
    e.g., safety, sense of community, land usage, the environment – it’s madness. That’s why Toronto does what it does; it’s a conscious decision about the types of neighborhoods and type of city they want. Did you notice that according to the article, auto manufacturers were instrumental in the origin of jaywalking laws?

  14. Michelle June 16, 2017 at 3:09 pm #

    No, I see what James means here. There should not be a bright-line rule prohibiting parents from being prosecuted for letting their kids walk *regardless of whatever other dangers were also present in the situation*. It should be ok to prosecute a parent who knowingly allowed their 4yo to walk alone down a busy freeway. But there should be a presumption that kids walking alone is OK *unless there are other, provable, REAL dangers that make it not OK*.

    Presumption of safety, not a bright-line rule that makes it absolutely legal even when it’s actually not safe. That’s basically just the other side of zero tolerance. Zero context, zero discretion, zero brains.

  15. Tim June 16, 2017 at 3:22 pm #

    Walking can now be seen as unusual or suspicious behavior in some areas. When people don’t feel comfortable walking, they tend to walk less. That is then used as an excuse to allow shoddy or nonexistent pedestrian infrastructure. So, even when following traffic regulations, the walker can have to deal with missing or narrow sidewalks next to high speed traffic lanes, excessive wait times and long distances to cross streets, signposts and equipment placed in the middle of the sidewalk and a host of other obstacles. Less walkers also conditions drivers to not expect pedestrians and to think of streets as for cars only, so when they do encounter a pedestrian they are surprised or feel the walker doesn’t “belong” there.

  16. Dienne June 16, 2017 at 3:39 pm #

    “But the crackheads down the street who haven’t taken the time to teach their kids things like “don’t shortcut through the trainyard because the trains move by themselves” or “Don’t run across the highway””

    Actually, children of crackheads probably figure that out pretty early, as they figure out most things in life early if they want to survive. It’s the children of devoted parents (overly so) who don’t figure out such things because Snowflake isn’t allow out of the living room until he’s 18 (and there’s baby gates until he’s 15).

  17. Mya Greene June 16, 2017 at 3:44 pm #

    Another way in which walking has been criminalized, has been by the the wild-fire-like spread of curfews throughout most major cities in the U.S.
    It penalizes all children under 18 ( and sometimes the parent, as well as those who look “young” ), for simply being alone in public during certain hours, even if said child has not committed a crime while occupying said public space. There are too way too many things wrong with curfews ( especially the daytime ones ) to list here, but I think it deserves to be acknowledged along with what was discussed in the article.

  18. Richard June 16, 2017 at 3:50 pm #

    The main issue in my mind is that we have consistently prioritized the rights of people moving through a space over those of the people living or working in that space. Just that taken by itself makes so little sense its hard to see where to go next.

  19. Anna June 16, 2017 at 3:52 pm #

    “When people don’t feel comfortable walking, they tend to walk less. That is then used as an excuse to allow shoddy or nonexistent pedestrian infrastructure. So, even when following traffic regulations, the walker can have to deal with missing or narrow sidewalks next to high speed traffic lanes, excessive wait times and long distances to cross streets, signposts and equipment placed in the middle of the sidewalk and a host of other obstacles.”

    So true. Also, to add to your list just a few of the obstacles within a mile or so of where I live: busy intersections with 3 rather than 4 crosswalks, so you have to wait through 3 interminably long lights just to get across one street; green lights that are much too short for an elderly person or small child to make it across in the time allotted; businesses like gas stations getting away with stealing what should be the sidewalk and turning it into parking spots so you have to walk right through the gas station traffic lanes to pass by; building projects that close stretches of sidewalks for months at a time with helpful signs saying “Use other sidewalk” even though there’s no way to get to the other sidewalk without walking an extra quarter mile out of your way to the nearest light, which often means you can’t get to your destination anyway, if that happens to be on the closed stretch of sidewalk It’s fun, all right.

  20. Garfield Pennington June 16, 2017 at 4:06 pm #

    Well said Leonore. Not so sure about the first sections to do with jaywalking and traffic lights, though have often violated the regulations myself. Great to see you standing-up for children’s freedom to roam. Best regards from the Canadian West Coast Rain Forest, we need your advocacies up here. Garfield

  21. old school June 16, 2017 at 4:43 pm #

    I grew up in a city of around 80,000 people. Jaywalking was defined as crossing the street near a crosswalk but not in it, or crossing without a crosswalk in an unsafe manner. I distinctly remember elementary school teachers saying “cross in a straight, short, line” during walking field trips when crosswalks were impractical. If you are not near a crosswalk, cross safely where you can – think line of sight, traffic speed, minimizing time in street, etc. Seriously, this is not hard. Do not impede traffic = do not get ticket. I just checked my old hometown on the web, and these ideas/laws haven’t changed that I can tell. https://bouldercolorado.gov/goboulder/pedestrian-crossing-information Of course YMMV and this is the policy for a town which now has 79 pedestrian underpasses, significantly more than I remember. If pedestrian safety is a real concern, lower residential speed limits to 20 mph or less, treat driving as a privilege with retraining/testing every few years, and fund realistic bus options for the public good.
    RE: Bradbury stories – Even worse would be Niven stories in which driving errors carry the death penalty, although as a pedestrian there have been times when I have fantasized…

  22. David N. Brown June 16, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    @Craig: I’ve never gotten around to reading any of bradbury’s novels unless you count “martian chronicles”. I also have always found “Pedestrian” and some of his other early SF to be a bit out of character, the main reason I looked it up. These stories would almost be a better fit for Robert Sheckley or Mack Reynolds, who may have done the most to establish the dystopia as a distinct subgenre.

  23. Free range kid, free range mom June 16, 2017 at 4:52 pm #

    Yay. My twin seven year old boys and I rode our bikes 2.7 miles to a friend’s house for a playdate.
    The friend’s mom was incredulous. Well, my family doesn’t have a car right now. But even if we did, bike rides are fun!

  24. Alanna Mozzer June 16, 2017 at 5:23 pm #

    This makes me think of Ray Bradbury’s short story, “The Pedestrian.” Read it here: http://www.riversidelocalschools.com/Downloads/pedestrian%20short%20story.pdf

  25. Jim P. June 16, 2017 at 7:28 pm #

    Might want to find and read Ray Bradbury’s prescient short story: The Pedestrian. Written almost seventy years back but he might be reading this column today.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pedestrian

  26. Jennifer June 16, 2017 at 9:07 pm #

    I would also add “stop and frisk” to the ways walking has been criminalized

  27. Furioso June 16, 2017 at 9:30 pm #

    Just going to leave this here.
    http://www.riversidelocalschools.com/Downloads/pedestrian%20short%20story.pdf

  28. Paul Zummo June 16, 2017 at 10:05 pm #

    I generally agree with most of the stuff published here, but some of this was downright silly. Jaywalking laws increase air pollution? Really? Has anyone decided to drive instead of walk because of the fear of being caught jaywalking? As someone who recently had to drive across Manhattan (to get from one tunnel to another – I blame Waze for directing me that way), I don’t get the sense there’s much fear of jaywalking laws.

    I agree with the larger point about encouraging more walking, especially for children, but some of this article really stretches logic to the breaking point.

  29. Theresa June 16, 2017 at 10:23 pm #

    I wouldn’t know if every place says so what when someone jaywalks but I heard of a woman who got off a bus at​ one spot and the crosswalk was down the street. Since the store was across the street she crossed with her kids straight across. Life was very unkind that day. A truck hit them the kids didn’t live. It gets worse. the cops arrested her for jaywalking.

  30. JTW June 17, 2017 at 3:40 am #

    Some false assumptions there. By funnelling crossing traffic drivers can now know where to expect pedestrians, making roads more safe for those who stick to the marked crossings.

    If it’s got less safe that’s because of pedestrians ignoring the marked crossings yet behaving like they’re on one and crossing without looking (not that they should do that even on a marked crossing, but we all know they do).

  31. Katie G June 17, 2017 at 8:09 am #

    I honestly don’t know if our village has jaywalking laws or not, but I think it’s a bit rude to cross a hundred feet away from a crosswalk. However, rude is not the same as something that should be illegal.

  32. SHawth June 17, 2017 at 9:16 am #

    Police have another weapon in the anti-walking campaign. Charging people with Public Intoxication. No prove is required and passing a blood test with flying colors isn’t a defense. I know of two people that were charged with P.I. while walking home. One was walking home after a super bowl party when he decided he shouldn’t drive. The other was walking home when her car broke down and she decided it would be easier to handle from home. She had not been drinking at all. Neither were making noise beyond normal walking or weren’t acting oddly. But the offense was walking without a dog, without a child and without exercise clothes in a suburban area where people don’t generally walk.

  33. Katie G June 17, 2017 at 9:31 am #

    SHawth, that is utterly unconscionable!

  34. Heresolong June 17, 2017 at 9:59 am #

    Katie G,

    Really? Rude not to walk a hundred feet in either direction to get to a destination that is directly across the street from where you are currently standing? Idiotic to take that walk would be a better analysis.

    Theresa,

    I am skeptical about stories that people “heard” happened. Can you give us a link? That being said, even if it did happen, how do you get you and your children hit by a truck unless you are being a total idiot? Assuming the story is true, the problem was not that she jaywalked, the problem was that she stepped out in front of a truck without bothering to determine whether or not the driver saw them and was stopping. She should not have stepped out until such time as the truck was completely stopped. The arrest or ticket, if any, should have been for being a complete moron, not for jaywalking.

  35. Cindy June 17, 2017 at 10:41 am #

    Anna – I was totally blown away when I moved from Ontario to Virginia. I too learned the point and cross indication, only to find that people here have absolutely no concept of what a crosswalk is for. If you watch how they’re actually used motorists ignore them, and about all they accomplish is free the person who chooses to cross at one from jaywalking charges. No one slows down and pedestrians only cross when all the traffic has passed Its insane to me.

  36. Papilio June 17, 2017 at 11:28 am #

    I think it was this vid that I came across a few years ago and watched with horror…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxopfjXkArM

    Scandalous if you ask me… Anyway, obviously we don’t have jaywalking laws here, though I think I read there is some rule about not crossing within x meters of a zebra crossing (because then you have to use the actual crossing). I don’t really see the point though: either it’s busy enough that you’re glad there’s a zebra, or it’s quiet enough that you don’t bother anyone crossing where you please…

    “You can’t kid-proof the world.” But you CAN build sidewalks and bike infrastructure. And I don’t think that’s overdoing things for your special snowflake…

    @Anna: “Actually, I stand by my wording. Prioritizing people in machines over people not in machines – as many of our laws and customs currently do – makes no sense, unless you’re actually prioritizing machines as such. From any other point of view – e.g., safety, sense of community, land usage, the environment – it’s madness.”

    Yup.

  37. Anna June 17, 2017 at 12:09 pm #

    JTW: “SBy funnelling crossing traffic drivers can now know where to expect pedestrians, making roads more safe for those who stick to the marked crossings. If it’s got less safe that’s because of pedestrians ignoring the marked crossings yet behaving like they’re on one and crossing without looking (not that they should do that even on a marked crossing, but we all know they do).”

    Yes, that sounds intuitive, but I’ve read (in a policy paper published by my state’s transportation authority, discouraging marking crosswalks) that it’s factually untrue. There is apparently solid evidence that marking a crosswalk actually increases pedestrian fatalities there, as compared to leaving it unmarked – presumably because in both cases, drivers are careless and ignore the pedestrians, but where the crosswalk is marked, the pedestrians have a false illusion of safety.

  38. Theresa June 17, 2017 at 4:38 pm #

    For those doubting my story I heard it years ago so sorry no link. as for why the truck didn’t stop it might have something to do with the fact that this was a big commercial truck and those can’t stop on a dime.

  39. Theresa June 17, 2017 at 4:48 pm #

    PS it called Google. Try using it instead of saying someone lying.

  40. Jennifer C June 17, 2017 at 5:31 pm #

    @Theresa–I googled. The only story that I can find involves a woman and her three children crossing the street and one of her children was hit and died. He was hit not by a truck, but by a drunk driver with two previous hit and run convictions. And she was charged with reckless conduct, improperly crossing a roadway and second-degree homicide by vehicle. If she had been convicted of all of these she would have done more time than the drunk driver, which is disgusting. Thankfully she only ended up with probation and community service.

  41. Jennifer C June 17, 2017 at 5:45 pm #

    Correcting myself–apparently they did find her guilty, but thankfully they did not throw the book at her.

  42. Anna June 17, 2017 at 6:23 pm #

    “Assuming the story is true, the problem was not that she jaywalked, the problem was that she stepped out in front of a truck without bothering to determine whether or not the driver saw them and was stopping. She should not have stepped out until such time as the truck was completely stopped. The arrest or ticket, if any, should have been for being a complete moron, not for jaywalking.”

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess you’ve never commuted on foot or by public transportation. From what I recall, the woman was returning home at the end of a full day of work (presumably at a typical minimum wage job), with several (presumably tired and cranky) kids in tow, after taking the bus home (which I can tell you is generally a rather lengthy and exhausting process) and the bus stop was positioned such that she either had to drag those kids an extra 1/4 mile up the street and back to cross at the light, or jaywalk. If you truly can’t understand why she might choose to cross right there, you either lack imagination or you’re one of those people who think poor people are culpable for the act of being poor.

  43. SKL June 17, 2017 at 8:16 pm #

    I have to say I’ve had some good luck with people letting my kids move about alone, once they know I have given permission. Of course it’s not universal, but if you sign, that lets them off the hook, so they are less likely to object just for CYA.

    My kids have a one-week summer camp coming up this week. It’s their favorite annual camp, and important to our family culture. Unfortunately, it’s in the middle of nowhere and the hours are 9:30-4 – very inconvenient for working parents – especially me, given that I have 2 massive government deadlines approaching (June 21 and June 29). I begged them to offer before- and after-care, which they finally did, so now the hours (with the extra care) are 8:30 to 5pm – but still, 5pm is difficult. And on Friday, camp ends at 3:30 and there is no aftercare. They give me mega grief if I am late picking them up. So I’m thinking – why not ask them to let my kids walk to the nearby Starbucks and grab a pastry and wait for me? Would they allow two 10-year-olds to do it? Is it worth asking? If I can’t arrange another person to do the driving, I will ask them to do this. If not this year, hopefully next year or the next … eventually they have to agree that kids can walk down a sidewalk and not die.

  44. SKL June 17, 2017 at 8:23 pm #

    That lady whose 4yo got run over – she didn’t jump in front of a vehicle. She had multiple kids with her and the 4yo left her side and ran unsafely in the street. She wasn’t able to stop him in time. It was just a horrible accident. She lost a child. There were multiple parties at fault – the drunk driver first and foremost – the city planners who didn’t provide safe walkways for many poor residents – you might even say the 4yo who probably knew he should have stayed by his mom’s side. But the bereaved mom? OK sure, in hindsight, she could have strapped all of her kids to her wrists so they couldn’t make random decisions like run in the street. Do we want moms to be held to that kind of standard? (Or only some moms, e.g., the ones who have a bunch of kids etc….)

  45. SanityAnyone? June 17, 2017 at 8:42 pm #

    In 1950, Ray Bradbury made being a pedestrian a crime in Fahrenheit 451. That gives people too much time to think, much as does reading books. His solution to creating dependent, uninvolved masses was to keep everyone in front of large screens blasting nonsense at all times. Sound familiar?

  46. Beth June 18, 2017 at 8:46 am #

    “The only story that I can find involves a woman and her three children crossing the street and one of her children was hit and died.”

    That’s probably the one, and it was featured on Free Range Kids, a few years ago now. If I recall, there were even some super helpful comments by a FRK reader suggesting that the woman move so that her residence was closer to the bus stop and crosswalk, and that she get herself a car!

  47. Hazel June 20, 2017 at 5:34 am #

    This is mind-boggling to me as a Brit. Not for the first time, I feel very fortunate to live in the UK. No anti-jaywalking laws and we have plenty of pedestrian crossings, either pelican crossings (with a red/green light) or zebra crossings (stripes on the road).

    Almost every driver stops for both, or they always have for me, anyway. Some drivers push it and try and speed through before you step into the road, but mostly they stop. I was always taught by my parents to double-check the road even after the green light’s on, don’t assume all traffic will be stopped. It usually is, but no harm in making sure.

    With a zebra crossing, pedestrians are supposed to wait until traffic stops to cross (at least that was what my parents taught me) and most of the time drivers are polite and they do stop, even when there’s nobody in the road yet and they could get through without hitting anyone.

    Of course, I have never lived in one of the big cities, like Manchester or London. It might be different there. Where I am is not tiny by British standards and it is considered a main city for historical reasons, but it’s not large and would probably be very small indeed by US standards.