From time to time, the JFCY blog will host guest youth bloggers who will write on a legal topic relevant to youth. This time, please welcome Arif Hussain, a third- year student at University of Toronto. His blog piece is on Jaywalking. JFCY has provided some additional information on Jaywalking at the end of Arif’s peice below.

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Jaywalking is a major issue amongst teens and children, and often not seen as dangerous. This is because they don’t see themselves as doing anything wrong. Not only is jaywalking dangerous, you can be legally fined for jaywalking. But it’s more than just the legal precautions one should think about. You can lose your life simply by jaywalking.

Consider the following scenario:

Dinah was your average high school student. She had a very bright future ahead of her and always followed the rules. She loved the fast food café across from her school and for most lunches, she ate there with her friends.

Even though the traffic light was a few meters away, Dinah typically used the traffic light to cross safely and never jaywalked.

One day, Dinah took longer than she should have for lunch and realized that she would be late for class. When she saw there were no cars, she jaywalked. No one was there to stop her and no police officer was around ticketing her so Dinah jaywalked a few more times in different situations until she got into the habit of jaywalking even when she didn’t have to.

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More information on Jaywalking from JFCY:
Dinah’s habit is against the law. Her activity could result in a ticket with a fine from the police, and could also cause her serious injury. By early January of this year, police had already handed out nearly 225 tickets to pedestrians for jaywalking.

Jaywalking is an offence under the Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990. Here is what the law says in more detail:

  • No pedestrian shall cross the roadway except at the designated cross walk;
  • You may cross at a designated cross walk when the light is green or if there is a “walk” signal;
  • When the light is red, amber (yellow), or indicating “don’t walk”, no pedestrian should enter the roadway and cross
  • If you lawfully enter the roadway, the pedestrian has the right of way over vehicles and may cross as quickly as is reasonably possible.

The City of Toronto provides pedestrians with the following advice:

  • Be predictable. Do not make decisions that place you in the path of oncoming traffic
  • Cross at traffic signals, crosswalks and stop signs on busy roads
  • Look all ways before crossing. Never cross unless it is safe to do so
  • Walk, don’t run, across intersections. Only cross when you have enough time to make it to the other side
  • At pedestrian crossovers push the button to activate the flashing yellow light and point to indicate your intention to cross
  • Try to make eye contact with drivers before stepping off the curb. Just because you see the car, doesn’t mean the driver sees you
  • Wait for vehicles to stop before crossing in front of them. Cars take longer than you think to stop
  • Keep aware of traffic until you safely reach the other side

Safe Crossings!