Are jaywalking laws different from city to city?

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rrteacher's profile pic

rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Jaywalking laws and penalties can vary from city to city, but in many cities, they would be very similar, as many municipalities and states base their definitions of jaywalking and establish penalties for it using the Uniform Vehicle Code. Often there are laws at the state level that prohibit jaywalking alongside muncipal ordinances that define it more specifically. One area of difference is that many cities define jaywalking broadly as crossing the street in areas not clearly indicated by crossing lines, i.e. at intersections. Others only define it as crossing the street at a signalled intersection without a signal. In any case, the penalty for jaywalking is almost always a relatively minor fine, and in practice, police in major cities often overlook all but the most flagrantly dangerous instances of the offense.

bor's profile pic

bor | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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As an example, here is Columbus Ohio's Ordinance;

2171.05 - Walking on path or street, jaywalking.


No pedestrian shall cross a roadway at a place other than a crosswalk except in cases where crosswalks are an unreasonable distance apart.

(ORC 4511.50) (Ord. 1170-75; Ord. 2120-03 § 1 (part); Ord. No. 0411-2009, § 4, 4-19-2010)

You notice the reference to the state parallel law (ORC 4511.50). The state law has no such subsection, so in Ohio JW is a matter of Municipal regulation as far as (d) is concerned. 

You can do the same with your state and any city you wish to to see the comparison in wording.

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