The Case Against Jaywalking Laws

Thankfully there is not over enforcement of jaywalking in Asbury Park, but on social media we’ve often heard complaints about jaywalkers on Main Street and elsewhere in the city.

This article is one of many explaining how the term “jaywalking” originated, and the problem that has resulted from our nation’s streets belonging to cars rather than people, and the targeting of people of color (mostly black men) for a trivial infraction that almost everyone has committed numerous times in their lives.  These stories are harrowing and all-too familiar.

Asbury Park and APCSC are working on keeping pedestrians safe by developing better infrastructure and by slowing cars with traffic calming methods, not by criminalizing people walking outside painted lines.

Jaywalking laws are enforced disproportionately against black Americans, sometimes with fatal results.


“What sets jaywalking apart is that it never should have been against the law in the first place. City streets were meant for foot traffic and horses from ancient times until the early twentieth century. As a result, early automobiles found themselves alongside all sorts of pedestrians. To make way for cars, literally and figuratively, wealthy drivers and the U.S. auto industry set out to stigmatize lower-class pedestrians who crossed streets at will. Those who wouldn’t step aside for vehicles became known as “jay walkers…”

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