Jaywalkers have little to fear in Boston — at least from the law

Brendan Kearney, a spokesperson for WalkBoston, said the concept of jaywalking and laws prohibiting the practice first emerged in the early 20th century, as the automobile industry engaged in a widespread marketing campaign to redefine the public road as the domain of vehicles — not walkers. “If you look at the term ‘jay,’ [in the early 20th century] it meant kind of like a hick, a country bumpkin that doesn’t know what’s going on,” Kearney said. “There was a lot of marketing ... to make this a real [patriotic] sort of thing: ‘Don’t be a jaywalker.’” Kearney said lawmakers have more effective means at their disposal to cut back on pedestrian deaths, rather than punishing pedestrians: increase fines and enforcement for speeding, paint more crosswalks in the city, and employ shorter times for light signal changes to cut down on the time pedestrians wait at the curb.
Metro Boston
Publication Date: 
Tuesday, August 2, 2016