Is Jaywalking Illegal in California?

Jaywalking is the informal term for a pedestrian unlawfully crossing the street where he or she does not have the legal right to do so. It is a common yet highly dangerous practice in California. Like most states, California has a law specifically banning jaywalking. Breaking this law could lead to a ticket and a fine. It could also cause a life-changing pedestrian accident.

California’s Anti-Jaywalking Law

Jaywalking is dangerous for pedestrians, as drivers are not prepared to stop. While drivers expect to slow down and stop for pedestrians at intersections and crosswalks, they do not anticipate people crossing elsewhere. The high risk of injuries and deaths related to jaywalking has led to related laws prohibiting it in many states.

In California, Vehicle Code Section 21955 is the law against jaywalking. It prohibits pedestrians from crossing the road at any place besides crosswalks between two adjacent intersections controlled by police officers or traffic signals. Between two controlled intersections, it is against the law for a pedestrian to cross the road.

If a pedestrian has to cross the road anywhere but at an intersection or crosswalk, he or she must yield the right-of-way to any drivers who are close enough to constitute a hazard. It is against the law for a pedestrian to step from a curb into traffic when vehicles are too close to reasonably stop. If a police officer sees someone jaywalking in California, he or she could issue a ticket.

What Are the Risks of Jaywalking?

Many pedestrians jaywalk to save time. They do not wish to wait until the next intersection to cross the road. In their hurry, they may not check for cars or they may dart across the street in the hopes of out-running oncoming drivers. This could lead to serious and fatal accidents. Failure to keep a proper lookout while breaking California’s jaywalking laws is a deadly combination. A driver may not notice a pedestrian stepping off the curb or have time to hit the brakes. For this reason, jaywalking is extremely dangerous.

Pedestrian Safety Tips

Before you explore or travel Sacramento on foot, learn a few safety tips to help you avoid becoming the victim of a pedestrian accident. Being aware of your surroundings and obeying California’s pedestrian rules could save your life.

  • Do not jaywalk; take the extra few minutes to make it to the next intersection or crosswalk before crossing.
  • Increase your visibility to drivers by wearing bright or reflective clothing.
  • Do not walk or jog with headphones, as you may not hear an approaching vehicle.
  • Always use a sidewalk when available. Otherwise, walk as far to the right side of the road as possible.
  • Walk in the direction facing oncoming traffic.
  • Wait until it is your turn to cross the road at intersections and crosswalks.
  • Always look both ways before crossing, even if you have the right-of-way.
  • Make eye contact with drivers you are passing to make sure they see you.
  • Never walk in Sacramento under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Pay strict attention to your surroundings 100% of the time.

Do not assume drivers in Sacramento will obey the law or respect your rights as a pedestrian. Many distracted and drunk drivers in the city put you at risk of serious injuries. Keep yourself safe by anticipating that drivers will ignore your rights-of-way.

Were You in a Jaywalking Accident?

If a driver struck you while you were walking or jogging in Sacramento, that driver may owe you financial compensation for your injuries, medical bills and other losses. If you were jaywalking at the time of the collision, contact a Sacramento pedestrian accident lawyer. This could diminish your financial recovery, but it may not prevent you from recovering entirely. Learn more about your specific accident during a free consultation with an attorney.