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Pedestrian vs. Jaywalker
updated: Feb 26, 2013, 12:07 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

I would like to ask why pedestrians are not considered jaywalkers in Santa Barbara, but instead drivers are supposed to stop for them if they are waiting at the curb or wherever to cross the street. It is a dangerous practice for the driver as can be hit from behind. It is a dangerous practice for the pedestrians because sometimes other drivers just do not see them. One more thing, why do pedestrians assume the driver can see them, particularly when they are dressed in dark colors?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 378863 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 12:12 PM

You're not wrong, but in CA the pedestrian has the right-of-way. It's not a Santa Barbara rule, but a State rule. The logic is cars are more dangerous than peds, so they must yield right-of-way. But peds can also be jaywalkers and do get cite for it.


 COMMENT 378865 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 12:17 PM

Can you be more specific about places where you see this problem?

Many people are not aware of the legal definition of jaywalking. Did you know that it is in fact legal to cross a street mid-block under many circumstances?

It is only forbidden to cross mid-block if there are traffic signals at the adjacent intersections. See California Vehicle Code 21954-21955.

The code does specify that the pedestrian has to yield right of way and take care not to be a hazard if he/she is outside of a crosswalk. But it is legal.


 COMMENT 378869 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 12:30 PM

Pedestrians attempting to cross the road are NOT jaywalkers if they are crossing at intersections or designated crosswalks. However they must also exercise caution and cross when safe to do so.

Drivers must drive with caution and look for pedestrians as well as bicyclists, motorcyclists and others using the road or attempting to cross the road. Not seeing a pedestrian is a lame excuse for driving carelessly.

More and more pedestrian-vehicle collisions are the result of shared irresponsibility: pedestrians expecting cars to give way and drivers not paying attention. Just a set up for the Darwin Awards, I'm afraid.


 COMMENT 378877 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 12:47 PM

My understanding has always been that pedestrians have the right-of-way at intersections, whether or not the crosswalk is marked.


 COMMENT 378878 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 12:51 PM

Truck - Car - Horse - Bike - Ped.


 COMMENT 378880 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 12:52 PM

I am always over cautious around bicyclists and pedestrians, I always assume they are unpredictable. Many times they are aware they have the right away and aren't cautious enough (in my experience). I will say, I have jaywalked, and learned my lesson. A few months ago I was in a hurry for a downtown appt, with my two older kids, and baby in a stroller. The entrance to the building was mid-block on a street that was off of State street. Because we were so late it was "easier" to cross, then go down to the cross walk. There were no cars coming, it was safe, so we preceded. My older kids were almost across when I stepped off the curb pushing the stroller. I wasn't prepared for how big a step it was and my ankle twisted. I stumbled a few steps, the stroller was pushed across as I fell in the street. I could hear my kids call out for me, then my oldest cried out for the baby. The stroller had tipped over when it hit the opposite curb. She picked it up, (luckily baby was in his car seat). I could hear a car turing from State, coming up the street. Wasn't sure if they saw me, I crawled as quickly as I could across the center line, and jumped up. My daughter said the car never slowed down or attempted to stop. I can only assume they didn't see me. Terrible terrible day, horrible decision, good lesson.


 COMMENT 378884 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 01:09 PM

Hmm... I can tell you where I see the problem. Just drive by any high school or jr. high when school gets out.

This is my concern: I am amazed at the number of kids who step off the curb without looking. Some are indignant and defiant in the face of oncoming traffic while others are texting or talking. Simply amazing. I don't understand that mindset, but my kids know to use the crosswalk, look both ways and don't ever assume the driver sees you unless you make eye contact.


 COMMENT 378885 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 01:09 PM

I strictly obey crosswalks and traffic lights - I could never forgive myself if I hurt someone with the grossmobile. But jaywalkers beware....I will let you pass but my horn will greet you and I'll let you know you're number 1 and I might even say a few words in my unpleasant NY accent. I walk all over the place but I obey the signs and the lights - it would be hypocritical to do otherwise. Be safe out there folks....rely on yourself only.


 COMMENT 378890 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 01:22 PM

@884, Then contact the principal of the school. If his / her students are causing a hazard and not crossing safely and laefully, they are having a potential negative impact on the neighborhood.

Tje principal would want to know so there's a chance to correct the behavior...possibly.


 COMMENT 378893 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 01:24 PM

878 - Actually bikes have to yield to horses, so that would be:
Car - Bike - Horse - Pedestrian


 COMMENT 378894 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 01:25 PM

863 is 100% correct. You must yield to pedestrians in California, and it is a good idea to yeild to bicyclists too even though they are subject to the same laws as drivers.
884 - That is why schools areas have lower speed limits and lots of sign to warn you of students. These are kids, their brains have not fully devoloped.


 COMMENT 378897 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 01:34 PM

I have noticed a lot of people standing at street corners recently, yakking into their phones. How am I supposed to know if they want to cross or not? I think my responsibility to stop for them starts when they lift one foot to take a step into a sidewalk. Otherwise I look around for cops doing stings and keep going. Especially on Milpas!


 COMMENT 378900 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 01:47 PM

The school's principal should change the child's behavior? Seriously?

What ever has happened to attentive and thorough parenting???!?!?


 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 01:47 PM

I just took my daily walk on the East Side saw one vehicle totally blow threw a stop sign on Quarantina. About half a dozen drivers pull California stops, over a dozen did not yield at all for me at Haley and Quarantina. Also saw every bicyclist blow threw signs all together. I did not jaywalk on my walk. Don't like tickets.


 COMMENT 378912 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 02:05 PM

Pedestrians only have the right away in crosswalks and at corners (marked or not). They think they have the right of way at all times and all places.


 COMMENT 378914 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 02:23 PM

C Section 21954 Pedestrians Outside Crosswalks

CA Code: Pedestrians Outside Crosswalks

21954. (a) Every pedestrian upon 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 so near as to constitute an immediate hazard.

(b) The provisions of this section shall not relieve the driver of a vehicle from the duty to exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian upon a roadway.


 COMMENT 378915P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 02:24 PM

Every jaywalker is a pedestrain, but not all pedestrians are jaywalkers.


 COMMENT 378923 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 02:55 PM

West Figueroa Street by Los Arroyos is the worst. I have seen some really close calls there. Carrillo by the gym isn't much better.

A family of three got mowed over a few years ago crossing against a red light at Carillo and State. They lived, but sufferd very serious injuries.


 COMMENT 378937 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 03:38 PM

A friend of mine that got hit too many times by reckless drivers in the crosswalk used to manuever road signs he found on the road so motorists would drive off the road it was his way of paying back. He's dead now got hit by a truck but he willed his sons a good chunk of change to continue his wishes, drive carefully.


 EZ2 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 03:46 PM

Bottom line. Drivers SLOW down and pedestrians look both ways before you cross!


 COMMENT 378940 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 03:52 PM

I agree it's dangerous that pedestrians would always have the right of way unless it's a crosswalk, light or stop sign. I would never expect a car barreling down Santa Barbara street to stop for me at a corner unless they have a stop sign or crosswalk because it would cause a traffic hazard for those behind him.


 COMMENT 378944P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 04:01 PM

I walk a lot and there really are definitely a lot of distracted drivers out there. The streets around Alameda Park, especially the north-south cross streets are often scary to cross. The intersections by Ralphs downtown and at DLV and Alamar, even with lights and crosswalks, can be hazardous with cars making turns. The other side of the coin, however, is that some drivers, trying to be good Samaritans, slam their brakes on at each and every intersection if they see a pedestrian approaching or even nearby. Quite frankly, I prefer in most cases to wait for traffic to pass and then cross when it's safe to do so. It can be a problem and, indeed, it's a "two-way street" in keeping safe and always remaining alert.


 COMMENT 378957 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 04:26 PM

Pedestrians have the right of way at all intersections.

If you drive by a school regularly, you should be aware that you're in a school zone, and should always exercise extra caution. Yes, kids will do careless things like step off curbs without looking, and that is why there are always plenty of signs to tell you that you're in a school zone. The speed limits are lower and the traffic fines are higher in school zones for this reason. Kids being careless does not give drivers the right to be careless too.

Better idea: Avoid driving on streets that are adjacent to schools. There is always more traffic and more pedestrians near schools, just pick another route!


 COMMENT 378972P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 04:54 PM

Slow down and pay attention. I was turning right onto Bath from Micheltorena. A Mom with a stroller and 2 little kids began to cross Bath in front of me and I stopped. The kids went first. The car behind me leaned on the horn then raced around me on the left to make the right turn ahead of me. He missed flattening them by a hair. I guess he didn't see them. Did he think I stopped at the corner for no reason at all?


 COMMENT 379022 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 06:24 PM

Modern living is so demanding of precious time that we are running short of it; why are so many people always in such a hurry?

One common reason is the FEAR of being late to work; the specter of losing your job/livelihood on account of being late just one time (and maybe, consequently, your home, your respect, your credit rating, and your health, etc etc) is a form of terrorism - economic terrorism - that is held over us by faceless bureaucrats and corporate drones who love to wield a bit of power, just because they can.


 COMMENT 379032P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 06:42 PM

Hasn't there been more injuries/deaths at crosswalks then jaywalking? Take Carrillo & State street for example.


 COMMENT 379033 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 06:44 PM

What about 022's post was an excuse, 031P? None of what they posted in their second paragraph is untrue, so.


 COMMENT 379034P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 06:51 PM

Fear is not an excuse for running down a family.


 COMMENT 379046 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 07:41 PM

Solve the pedestrian v. car driver problem already. Install overhead bridge pedestrian walkways. Green light, cars make their right turns while peds walk above the traffic to cross the street. Problem solved.


 COMMENT 379054 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 08:02 PM

Man made laws may give the pedestrian the right of way but the laws of physics dictate that the car will always win. Forget about your precious "right of way" and yield to the cars.


 COMMENT 379055P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 08:06 PM

046 Excellent idea.


 COMMENT 379057 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 08:11 PM

878 has it right legally. It doesn't matter where you are, pedestrians have the right of way. Take as an example, the young man who was drunk and walking in the middle of the freeway. He got hit, and even though he should have not been there, the guy who hit him is being criminalized. The basic premise is that the order of right of way goes, pedestrian, horse, bike, motorcycle, car/pickup, commercial vehicle. But this is simply out of respect for life. Generally, in terms of locomotion, the more vulnerable you are the the more right of way you have.


 COMMENT 379063 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 08:23 PM

046...yeah excellent idea indeed but introduce it to the city council and you're going to get...






 COMMENT 379064 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 08:24 PM

Hotchkiss and Bendy are up for election. Vote them out.


 COMMENT 379070 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 08:44 PM

my favorite is when pedestrians just DART out of nowhere as i drive down de la vina. no crosswalk, they just dart from one side of the street to the other. or when i'm driving down state and it's my green light and people just start walking across the street...really?!? you can't wait 30 seconds for your light, do you really need to be to your destination 30 seconds faster? sheesh...


 COMMENT 379091P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 09:29 PM

Funny that the OP asks the question today. I'm driving. I stop at the stop sign hold line. The guy behind me in the pickup starts honking his horn. He's mad because it's a bulb out and thinks that I should have stopped further on at the curb rather than the hold line. I think: what a moron.
And when I read the OP's comments I thought: what a moron. Don't you have a driver's licence? Where the hell are you from? Of coarse pedestrians have the right of way in a crosswalk. But, what makes Santa Barbara difficult for drivers iand dangerous for pedestrians is that crosswalks in Santa Barbara come in so many variations that drivers are confused as to what exactly is a cross walk where a pedestrian has the right of way. We are creating a very unsafe situation with this lack of having uniform crosswalk markings.
022-being late is narcissistic. Blaming your employer is also narcissistic and irresponsible. These narcissistic drivers not only endanger pedestrians but also other drivers with their "me first" driving, doing such things as running stop lights and stop skghs


 COMMENT 379109P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 02:03 AM

But 022's comment was my favorite one (second is the "overhead bridge walkway"). 022 needs to heed my mother's quote: "Start out in plenty of time, and you won't have to hurry." Speedy drivers are just asking for trouble.

046: As for the overhead walkway: Seriously? And how do pedestrians access this walkway? Up a steep incline? Up steps? An elevator? What about accessibility for those who are elderly, handicapped or otherwise incline-challenged? Thought this through or just threw it out there, on a whim?


 COMMENT 379115 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 06:30 AM

Why does the OP feel so entitled? Driving is a huge responsibility; allowing us to navigate 3000 lbs of rolling iron death, and then having the temerity to suggest that stopping for a pedestrian as required by law is a hazard to motorists behind. Have you had to take a driving test recently? Maybe edhat should out you to the police so they can BOTL for an inconsiderate, selfish, unthinking, ninny scofflaw who values her back bumper more than the safety of defenseless pedestrians.

And people wonder what it is about SB that makes it less than it was.....


 COMMENT 379132 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 07:22 AM

Love the overhead walkway suggestion. Maybe they can build them at all of the intersections in Santa Barbara. They will look like the one they had to build across the 101 after the original one got hit by a truck. It can be seen from space.

Who pays for it all? I wonder if the suggester pays any taxes?

People get impatient if drivers stop for pedestrians who are crossing a multiple lane road and are still on the far side. My understanding is you have to yield to them once they are past the 1/2 way point. Do you really have to yield to them when they have just stepped off the far sidewalk?


 COMMENT 379135 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 07:25 AM

This question is just flabbergasting and a symptom of our whole problem with ignorant, arrogant drivers.
Cars Ain't Basic.


 COMMENT 379140 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 07:41 AM

I used to ride a Vespa scooter for a dozen years and always reminded myself of what a cop told me "Eye contact means nothing. Look at the wheels. If they are still moving, they are coming to kill you." So I learned to have a healthy fear of cars in motion, and a respect for what they can do to crush a human, bicyclist or mule. I am amazed at how many people step off the curb without due diligence, texting or otherwise distracted, and seem to be challenging the car to "get better acquainted" in a liability lawsuit. Especially parents with little kids, what kind of an example do they think they are setting?


 COMMENT 379144P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 07:46 AM

I know what the law re. pedestrians is in CA; what I am asking is why police in SB seem to shield pedestrians outside of a crosswalk. I've seen problems with this time and time again, both as a driver and as a pedestrian, particularly downtown. I always cross at a crosswalk and have been nearly mowed over both by drivers in cars and by bicyclists while in the crosswalk. Rarely do I see a policeman when it would be advantageous to witness this problem.


 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 08:38 AM

Will the truth ever come out as to why that young man was on the freeway drunk? It sure doesn't look like it.


 COMMENT 379186P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 08:51 AM

This is a slightly different issue, but just this morning as I was driving along Cabrillo Blvd. between State St. and Castillo, where I always look carefully for pedestrians at the crosswalks, I noticed that many of the corners where the crosswalks begin are blocked by bushy plants around a palm tree.

This makes it extremely difficult to see the pedestrians. And then you do have to worry about being hit from behind, or the car in the next lane not stopping.


 COMMENT 379192 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 09:02 AM

Cars must yield to pedestrians, but a pedestrian hit by a car in a crosswalk will do well suing the driver. A pedestrian hit while jaywalking will likely lose in court.


 COMMENT 379236 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 09:44 AM

Respect the metal 2ton car. Its not soft

Jaywalking or in a crosswalk, you will still lose to a car


 COMMENT 379251 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 10:11 AM

Pedestrians in SB seem entitled to walk anywhere and that cars/bikes will stop for them no matter what. The vast majority of drivers (when I am on a bicycle) will yield to me at 4 way stop even when they have the right of way and most drivers do obey the rules. I don't get why everyone is so impatient they can't wait 30 seconds to walk to a light or cross walk or wait until it is safe to cross.My life (as both a bicyclist and pedestrian) and someone's life is more important than my being inconvenienced for 30 seconds.


 COMMENT 379269 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 10:38 AM

Most pedestrians hit by cars in this town are in crosswalks when they are hit, and in most cases already in the middle of the crosswalk when a speeding car hits them, so looking both ways before crossing isn't going to prevent that.

Stop trying to justify why you think it's unsafe for people to cross streets. There are lots of pedestrians in this town and you have to be prepared to stop for ALL of them. If you see a car stopping for "no reason", it's probably because they're waiting for a pedestrian.

It's really simple: Drive the speed limit (they are designed so that you can stop in time for most hazards) and STOP (completely) when you see pedestrians, and wait for them to cross the street so other cars will notice them too. The extra 20 seconds will not make a difference in your life, and it very well could save theirs.


 COMMENT 379275 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 10:44 AM

I took a rare occasion to cross State near the Art Museum and was harassed quite nastily by a cop having coffee @ Pete's. I explained that I only did it because it was raining and there was not a single car to be seen in either direction nor at the corners. He said I was lucky he didn't feel like giving me a ticket :(

My rule of thumb re: peds wanting to cross the street when I'm driving is that I will always give them the right of way as long as they give me "eye contact" so I know what it is they want. Anyone looking at the ground or their cell phone will be left waiting. I'M NOT A MIND-READER, PEOPLE !


 COMMENT 379346 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 12:09 PM

The OP appears to be asking why all Santa Barbara pedestrians aren't considered jaywalkers, or why all Santa Barbara pedestrians waiting at the curb aren't considered jaywalkers. I'm at a loss as to why the OP considers simply being a pedestrian, or waiting at a curb, makes one a jaywalker. If the OP considers waiting on a curb to be dangerous behavior simply because a car might stop for you and then be rear-ended, I wonder what the OP would have people do instead.


 COMMENT 379468 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 02:23 PM

I never go for a walk without a jay.


 RAINE5360 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 03:50 PM

It's a foolish and impractical law. A car cannot stop as easily as a person, and it's a lot easier for a ped to see a car than it is for a motorist to see a person, esp if one's eyes are on the road ahead. I wonder if a study has ever been done comparing motorists or pedestrians having the right of way. I've never understood the logic of CA law.


 COMMENT 379818 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-28 10:31 AM

The word jaywalk is a compound word derived from the word jay, an inexperienced person, and walk. In towns in the American Midwest in the early 20th century, "jay" was a synonym for "rube," a pejorative term for a rural resident, assumed by many urbanites to be stupid, slightly unintelligent, or perhaps simply naïve. Such a person did not know to keep out of the way of other pedestrians and speeding automobiles...from WikipediA


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