A grassroots community coalition is working to decriminalize jaywalking in California because of its history of biased enforcement against Black and brown communities. But their efforts are in jeopardy because state legislators are bottling up the legislation.
To prevent the bill from dying, America Walks is urging you to contact your state legislators today.
Here’s what you can do to save the bill (thank you to California Bicycle Coalition for putting this together):
- Compose an email to your senator with this template.
- Tweet Senator Portantino and Gov Gavin Newsom using this social media toolkit.
- Call their offices using this call script.
- Share this campaign and send a message to your members and allies to do the same!
Walking is the original form of transportation and yet too often it is forgotten, actively discouraged, or even criminalized. We know that this approach harms BIPOC community members at disproportionate rates – whether through unsafe roadways or the biased application of laws against jaywalking.
California is at a unique moment to put people first by doing away with jaywalking as a criminal act. But they need to hear your voice.
Some claim that jaywalking laws are essential to safety, but there is no data to demonstrate that claim, and early results from places that have decriminalized jaywalking show little effect on safety.
We do, however, have evidence to support how harmful jaywalking laws are, and that they are not effective at keeping people safe. Here are a few of the key reasons why policing rational walking is unjust and dangerous, supported by the resource links below.
- Jaywalking infractions are unequally enforced and often racially motivated. From 2018-2020, data from the California Racial and Identity Profiling Act (RIPA) shows that Black Californians are severely overrepresented in being stopped for jaywalking.
- Jaywalking stops can escalate into police brutality cases that can result in serious long-lasting community harms or even loss of life.
- Pedestrians often jaywalk because of inadequate infrastructure and are doing what people would typically do when faced with overly long distances to marked crossings
Please take this opportunity to protect the dignity of people using our rights of way.
Here are evidence-based resources that demonstrate the inherent harm of jaywalking laws if you need more information.
- 3MPH Planning Testimony Before the California State Assembly
- Our Letter on Decriminalizing Jaywalking: California Could Demonstrate National Leadership by Passing Timely Legislation
- Right of Way: Race, Class, and the Silent Epidemic of Pedestrian Deaths in America w/ Angie Schmitt
- Pedestrians Are People Too: The Criminalization of Walking + The Racial Implications of Jaywalking