Elderly woman fined for jaywalking - too long to cross the street

In a piece of “strange” news this morning, I came across a story about an elderly woman in CA who was fined for jaywalking. The court waived the fine but still found her guilty of jaywalking, apparently for taking too long to cross the street!

It’s hard to tell which version is the one that actually happened, but the woman said the WALK sign was still on when she stepped into the crosswalk; the policeman who gave her the ticket says it had already started flashing DON’T WALK. It’s a fine line - if the sign still says walk, you’re supposed to be able to cross the street.

It was a busy intersection, and the woman had a cane in one hand and a bag of groceries in the other, so she was probably moving very slowly. Now as someone who doesn’t have a car or drive (I get around either by walking or taking public transportation), I can tell you that the pedestrian signs barely give a healthy person time to cross. If you’re impeded in any way, you’re taking your life in your hands, particularly at certain busy intersections.

I don’t know what the solution is, unfortunately. It’s also compounded where right turn on red is allowed - I’ve seen some turning drivers nearly clip pedestrians who were crossing ON the walk signal. I currently walk with a cane due to arthritis in both knees, so I move fairly slowly, so I try to avoid crossing busy intersections when I can but sometimes I just can’t. So I try to move as quickly as possible and only cross during the WALK cycle. It’s a shame, though, that this elderly woman now has a jaywalking citation on her record.

So, someone sitting in their comfy, probably air conditioned car, with music, and maybe snacks is inconvenienced a few seconds because of a pedestrian. GAH! <me banging head on desk>

Sometimes I think getting into a car alters a person’s perspective. I can go, therefore I must to. Yield? It is to laugh!! Just because it’s pouring down rain and that mere pedestrian is getting soaked to the skin, I don’t have to let him/her go ahead of me, so I won’t. Muahahahahahahaha!!


Personally, I give right of way to pedestrians all the time. I was hoping it would be contagious. It’s taking longer than I thought.

Just to play the other side here, some intersetions are very critical to get traffic from building up. It’s not the 3 minutes that each driver now has to wait for the extra light change, but it could cause a backup, and further congestion, possible backing up on nearby exit ramps and eventually onto the expressways themselves, which could cause accidents, and could also slow emergency responders who have to drive through these areas.

Remember that lights usually don’t operate by themselves, they are usually linked into a traffic management system, when this system fails and the lights default to timing themselves usually that causes a messy congested condition.

Park Avenue–the only two-lane avenue in New York–is impossible to cross w/in the time the light gives you. I walk pretty fast, even for a New Yorker, and I have never made it all the way across before the light at least starts to change. Slower people are invariably marooned on the traffic island or have to dodge the cars.

Basd on the OP (woman claims the walk sign was lit up, cop claims it was flashing don’t walk, the judge convicted her but waived the fine), it sounds like the judge found the cop more credible than the woman, but felt that under the circumstances the crime didn’t justify the fine.

I was walking back from getting coffee one morning in downtown LA, and saw an elderly man walking across the street. He was going quite slow, and seemed to be weaving. As he got close to the corner I was on, he started to fall down. I managed to catch him (tossing my coffee all over my shirt in the process), and hollered for help, since I didn’t want him to drag me down. One of my coworkers helped me get him to the sidewalk, where someone else got him some water and we called an ambulance (which got there in under 2 minutes!).

Anyway, as this man is collapsing and I’m throwing coffee, the light turns green. Now, we’re clearly in the intersection and just as clearly having trouble. Angelenos being what they are, they just drove around us! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but would it have killed them to wait until we made it onto the sidewalk?

So you admit to J-walking. :stuck_out_tongue:

Heh. Damn message boards. So much for my pristine record when I run for President. Mods, please erase my past. I mean, my post.

Well you didn’t mention that this road is actually 2 roads, 2 lanes in each direction. divided by a island. This island has more then enough room and protection for someone to wait till they get the next light crossing if they can’t make it in one shot.

My elderly mother has been following this case since it first hit the airwaves, and she told me today that the judge threw out the ticket and threw out the whole case, so she has no record. But, then my elderly mother has been known to mishear things…

I used to be a very fast walker, but the crosswalk at the six-lane street (with no center island) in front of the building where I worked had a walk light short enough that only by leaving the instant the walk light came on and then nearly running could I make it all the way across before the light turned red.

Now that I have a bad knee and walk at about half that speed, I’m just glad I don’t have to cross there any more. Making it across a two-lane street in time is hard enough now; I’d be afraid of getting killed trying to cross there these days.

It really pisses me off that people in cars get so damned impatient. Sometimes I can’t walk any faster, thank you! Trust me, if I could, don’t you think I would just to avoid all this aggravation?

If we’re going to get all indignant over this, it might be nice to look at the facts. Here’s one article on the story.

Note the reason she was given a citation:

Bolding mine.

It seems that what we have here is a case of “he said, she said” regarding exactly what her infringement was. She insists that she left the kerb on the Walk sign, and that the ticket was uinfair because she was too slow. The policeman who issued the citation, on the other hand, contends that she left the kerb after the Don’t Walk sign began flashing.

Well, if it really was a case of not being able to make it all the way on the Walk sign, he might have a point. But if she did, in fact, leave the kerb after the Don’t Walk sign began flashing—as the cop alleges—then time isn’t the issue.

Now, i’m an inveterate jaywalker myself, and i think that, as long as you make sure you’re not impeding traffic, it’s no big deal. But if you step off the kerb when you’re not supposed to, and impede the flow of traffic, then you deserve to get written up.

Of course, cops should also write up drivers who blow through red lights or fail to yield at intersections, but that rarely happens around here either.

First, a big thanks to FairyChatMom whose post has restored my faith that there are still decent people out there driving. :slight_smile: And thanks too, to Eve and Mama Tiger, walkers who agree that the WALK cycle really isn’t long enough for pedestrians to get across the street. And lastly, a huge thank you to mhendo for posting a link to the story! I had tried to google it, unsuccessfully–probably didn’t use the best search terminology, I guess. And I wasn’t sure if a link to where I read it (my personal start page, where it was a “strange news” item) would work.

The article I read said that the Court had waived the fine, so I do hope that the ticket itself was waived, but it didn’t make that clear. I’ve still got to wonder if the police person (heh) was just sitting there, waiting to catch the first person who stepped off the curb -after- the sign began flashing DON’T WALK. Seems to me the only way to be 100% certain would be if there was a camera. Also seems ridiculous for the police to be ticketing jaywalkers when they don’t ticket vehicle/driver violations like failing to yield or turning right on red where it’s not allowed.