Jaywalking – Be Careful Where you Cross!!!
Most big cities throughout the country have numerous laws or rules in place that their citizens are completely unaware of. In the City of Chicago, for example, one of these overlooked laws is the prohibition against Jaywalking in certain areas. Yes, something that hundreds of Chicagoans do every day without even a slight thought of hesitation has rules surrounding it. For those unfamiliar, jaywalking is defined as “the act of crossing a street in an illegal, careless, or unsafe manner.” In fact, jaywalking is outlined in both the Municipal Code of Chicago and Illinois state law.
The Municipal Code of Chicago states:
9-60-10 — Crosswalks authorized – Crossing between intersections prohibited when
(b) Whenever, upon the basis of an engineering or traffic investigation upon any street, it is determined that pedestrian crossings between intersections shall be prohibited in the interest of public safety, pedestrians shall not cross between intersections except where there may be a marked crosswalk. Such regulations against pedestrians crossing between intersections shall be effective when appropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected.
This relevant part of The Municipal Code of Chicago puts restrictions on certain cross walking areas. In the intersections that the City deems a possible public safety issue, it places marked crosswalks and appropriate signs indicating where and when pedestrians must walk when crossing the road. While at these marked intersections, any crossing done outside the indicated area or indicated time frame may be accompanied by a fine between $90-$500. In places where there may not be a marked crosswalk, the Municipal Code of Chicago outlines how jaywalking should be carried out:
9-60-050 — Pedestrian to yield right-of-way when.
(a) Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway
9-60-060 — Pedestrian Crossing.
(a) No pedestrian shall cross a roadway at any place other than by a route at right angles to the curb or by the shortest route to the opposite curb except in a marked crosswalk
While Illinois state law reads:
§ 11-1003. Crossing at other than crosswalks
(a) Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
Not all acts codified in law carry the same consequential weight. While a fine may be issued by an enforcing police officer, a person who illegally crosses the street and is hit by an oncoming car may be completely barred from suing the driver for negligence under Illinois law. By breaking city laws, codes, or regulations, the jaywalker may be considered contributorily negligent and unable to recover any compensation from the driver(s). Even worse, a court may determine that you are the one liable due to your illegal crossing causing the incident and you could be on the legal hook. So next time you nonchalantly decide to dart across the street, look both ways and be weary of the legal lines you are crossing!
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