California Relaxes Jaywalking Laws

April 27, 2023

New “Freedom to Walk Act” Goes into Effect

By Albro L. Lundy III

California has recently passed a new law called the “Freedom to Walk Act” that has relaxed the state’s jaywalking laws. Starting from January 1, 2023, pedestrians in California will no longer receive a jaywalking ticket unless they cross the street in a dangerous manner. This new law is expected to make it easier for pedestrians to navigate urban areas where there are often few crosswalks.

NEW LAW Is A Response to Social COncerns

The old jaywalking law had been criticized for being too harsh and disproportionately affecting people of color. Studies have shown that Black and Hispanic pedestrians were more likely to receive a jaywalking ticket than white pedestrians, even when crossing the street in the same way. The new law was passed in response to these concerns and is expected to provide greater freedom for pedestrians in California.

With the new law in place, pedestrians can now cross the street outside of a crosswalk, as long as they do so safely. This means that pedestrians no longer have to worry about constantly getting ticketed for jaywalking, as long as they are not putting themselves or others in danger.

Pedestrians Must Cross Safely

While this new law will make it easier for pedestrians to get around, it is still important to emphasize pedestrian safety. Pedestrians should always look both ways before crossing the street and yield to oncoming traffic. This responsibility remains in place even with the relaxed jaywalking laws.

Please Note: This document does not constitute legal advice. Please consult an attorney for legal advice on what to do in a particular situation.


We're here for all of your legal needs.