I know what jaywalking is, but why is it “jay” walking? Who is Jay and did he walk across streets against lights and haphazardly through busy traffic? Is it still jaywalking if there is no traffic coming?

Jay is defined as a simpleminded, gullible, foolish person (a greenhorn or rube). The first known use was in Kansas, 1905, when drivers of horse-drawn carriages and vehicles were known as “jay drivers” if they couldn’t stay on their side or disobeyed other rules of the road.

By 1909 there were references, in writing, that “jay walkers” were just as bad as “jay drivers”. People mainly jaywalk for convenience, no need to find an intersection, safety takes up too much time. Also walking against the light, or the crosswalk signal is also jaywalking. In the United States, each state has different fines for pedestrians to deal with this offense. Usually the heftiest fines are given to those that disobey the crosswalk signals.

Unsafe pedestrian behavior is a major factor in pedestrian injuries and fatalities. In a recent study of 7,000 pedestrian-vehicle crashes in Florida, researchers discovered that pedestrians were at fault in 80 percent of these incidents. 

Similarly, in a U.K. study, pedestrian behavior accounted for 90 percent of crashes where a vehicle struck a pedestrian. Different countries have varying laws or absolutely no concern for jaywalking. It is best to just have common sense and don’t walk in front of a moving vehicle. Even if you have the right of way, it is best (for you) to make sure the cars are going to STOP!

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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