Pedestrian deaths spur crackdown on jaywalking

Photo credit: Flickr user Heath Brandon
Photo credit: Flickr user Heath Brandon

Perhaps no law in New York City is flouted as consistently as the one banning jaywalking, but the days of crossing without consequences may be numbered.

In light of a high number of pedestrian deaths in recent months — more than a dozen in January alone, including that of a nine-year-old boy — police officers have begun issuing summonses to perpetually in-a-hurry New Yorkers who don’t wait for the walk signal.

In the first few weeks of the year, police issued more than 65 jaywalking summonses, AP reported, many of them in the Upper West Side neighborhood where the little boy was killed. One of those summonses took an ugly turn last month when an 84-year-old man sustained a head injury while resisting arrest.

There is no NYPD-wide policy to crack down on jaywalking, Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters last month, telling Politicker it was a ”way of life,” but that local precincts could make it a priority as they saw fit.

“We have to educate people to the dangers,” de Blasio said. “There’s a lot more vehicles in this town than there used to be.”

The mayor also last month announced the  Vision Zero initiative, aimed at eliminating pedestrian and other traffic fatalities.

Follow Emily Johnson on Twitter @emilyjreports


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