Generally speaking, a pedestrian is a "jaywalker" if they violate any traffic regulation under California law. A Pedestrian can generally cross at any point in a street or roadway unless the pedestrian is between two adjacent intersections that are both controlled by a traffic signal device, and pedestrians must give right-of-way to vehicles that are near enough to them to constitute an hazard unless they are in a marked or unmarked cross walk. A pedestrian can disobey a traffic signal if it was to prevent a hazard or accident. But what are some outer limits of pedestrian crossing laws? The following is an example of a long distance intersection:

Long Distance Intersections and crossing them: What if you are standing half-way between two adjacent intersections that are two miles apart?  Do you have to walk one mile in order to cross the road at the intersection to avoid being in violation of the law in California?  Technically, the answer is generally “yes, you have to cross the entire road to be in violation of California law." Note: There was an attempt to limit the distance to one quarter of a mile failed to pass in the California legislature.

What about alley ways and pedestrians?:

Alleys near roadways: Here is a special thing to know about when it comes to an alley....what if there’s an alley (without traffic signals) between the two signal controlled intersections?  An alley is a “roadway” and becomes the adjacent intersection.  Therefore, you may generally cross anywhere along that roadway because the alley itself is not controlled by a traffic signal.  See Vehicle Code §365 and §530.  See also case of People v. Blazina (1976) 55 Cal. App. 3d Supp. 35. You see this alot in San Diego back neighborhoods like North Park, Hillcrest, and the like, etc.

How the police can use a jaywalk situation to get more information on a person:

Stop and Search with a Jaywalk violation?: Police officers sometimes use jaywalking violations as a pretext for searching someone or questioning someone who they view as a suspicious person. So if you are "suspicious looking" try not to jaywalk.

Why have such laws in regards to jaywalking the first place then? Pedestrian restrictive movement laws help reduce and prevent injuries and fatalities - they are made with your safety in mind. Also, to establish fixed rules to determine fault to help us injury lawyers figure out to what degree a person or motorist is at fault for a traffic violation involving a pedestrian jaywalking.  As motorists and pedestrians, we need to obey traffic laws that assure our safety and the safety of others - do onto others! If you have further questions, pick up the phone and call me at (619) 813-7955!

Mark Blane
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San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer | California Car Accident Attorney