On Jan 1. 2023, the Freedom to Walk Act that was passed and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom last year which makes jaywalking in California legal. 

According to the leading sponsor Assembly member Phil Ting, The law states it does not ticket individuals for jaywalking “unless a careful reasonable person would realize there is an immediate danger of a collision with a moving vehicle or other device moving exclusively by human power like a bike”.  

Calbike.org, who supported the legislation, stated that the jaywalking fines can be up to $250 and reduces interactions with the law enforcement for people of color. Also, black offenders are 4 times as likely to be fined than white offenders which perpetuates racial discrimination and unfairness in the justice system. 

So how are the students at PCC handling the new California law?  When presented with the key facts of the  law in California, they were willing to tell The Courier their thoughts. 

Jolene Wem, Sophomore at PCC has expressed her concerns about the new law since she is a new driver 

“I’ve encountered people jaywalking and I think it is a safety hazard for both of us,” Wem said. 

Oliver Brake, freshman who is studying natural sciences, is open to the changes but thinks there is still a risk. 

“As someone who wants the city to be more walkable, I think it’s good to have laws to protect people who are walking as opposed to driving,” Brake Said. “I do see a potential risk in doing that as well.”  

Lev McCartha, freshman who is studying art,  believes there should be  more crosswalks than legalize jaywalking 

“I personally feel like instead of legalizing jaywalking they should have made more crosswalks to make it more safely accessible,”  McCartha said. 

Alex Murillo, who is a student and is a part of the C.O.R.E (Community Overcoming Recidivism through Education)  program, has mixed emotions. 

“I could understand if somebody would walk if they are in a rush, however there are a lot of crazy drivers out there,”  Murillo said. “I am glad they don’t give a ticket for it, that’s what I’m glad about. Is it something that I would do on a constant basis probably not”. 

When these students were asked about the racial discrepancy between people of color and white offenders, students like Oliver Brake and Lev McCartha believed it was important for the law to address that concern. “I am glad we were able to recognize that, and try to remedy it,” Brake said

Alex Murillo has been ticketed for jaywalking and knows the feeling of being a victim of jaywalking and law enforcement not caring. 

“It’s like, hey that person just walked, the white family just walked with the stroller across the street and they didn’t get a ticket and they’re like, I am not worrying about them,” Murillo said. “I am worried about you!”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.