Traveling on foot or on horseback has long been the only option for travelers moving through cities. It was normal to wake up and find your way in your daily life by climbing on your horse or walking on young streets.
But the turn of the 20th century brought a new class of travelers: the motorist. As cars began to overtake streets and areas, the term “jaywalking” was added to the dictionary as a new label to protect motorists from pedestrians who recklessly or unsafely crossed the street. Mistakes the Jaywalker made included crossing a traffic light or a red light, not using a designated zebra crossing, and ignoring oncoming traffic.
The word jaywalking seems to have originated in 1909 and was found in an article in it The Kansas City Star Newspaper, after Merriam Webster Etymology. According to Merriam Webster, its use at the time was considered pejorative, which explains, “For the first few years it was used, Jaywalker had little or nothing to do with and was used solely for pedestrians crossing the street to scold those who lacked etiquette on the sidewalk. “
The Jaywalker catapulted himself into disgrace in the 1920s, according to an analysis by the news organization BBC: “as a propaganda campaign from the automotive industry in the 1920s. Historian Peter North told the BBC that due to a myriad of funding and outreach efforts by Big Auto in Detroit, newspaper coverage suddenly changed, with 1923 blaming all of the drivers and by late 1924 all blaming jaywalking. “So the Jaywalker’s rise was essentially part of a campaign by the automotive industry, its lobbyists and supporters to trample on pedestrian rights.
Today, hiking can be one of the fastest ways to explore some of America’s greatest cities. Savvy pedestrians arguably have the greatest mobility and can cross roads in ways that cars cannot. However, when pedestrians are involved in a motor vehicle accident, they are one of the least protected parties to insurance companies.
In the United States, jaywalking is considered a traffic law violation and may be viewed by police as a Violation or misdemeanor. Marked crosswalks are painted on streets to provide orientation for pedestrians crossing at intersections. Some jurisdictions prohibit pedestrians from diagonally crossing or oncoming traffic. Jaywalking is still not a globally recognized part of traffic laws. Pedestrians still have right of way in countries like Finland, Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands, and there is no law preventing jaywalking in the UK.
Pedestrians are seriously injured in car accidents
In 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 5,977 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents, about one pedestrian every 88 minutes. That year, the emergency rooms treated 137,000 injured pedestrians. Regardless of whether you flag these pedestrian accidents or jaywalking accidents, the fact remains that it is not safe to be a pedestrian in an area dominated by motorists. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that “pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to be killed in car accidents per trip than those in passenger cars.”
Meanwhile, the tide is turning in favor of pedestrians as urban cities seek to add more green space and foot-friendly features to their designs. The backlash against insurance companies’ use of jaywalking to track injured pedestrians is growing. An article by the news organization Bloomberg CityLab from October 2020 called for the Elimination of jaywalking laws in the US as “invented by auto companies to divert blame when drivers hit pedestrians”. The authors also said the concept is “unfairly enforced” and “encourages aggressive driving” at a time when “the safest countries in the world are allowing jaywalking”. And a Study 2014 The Federal Highway Administration has previously established that environmental factors can determine the amount of jaywalking in a city and whether a pedestrian crossing is safe.
Jaywalker not necessarily the fault party
Although the taboo behind jaywalking is subsiding, insurance companies and insurance specialists are still trying to blame pedestrians. In personal injury cases involving automobiles and an injured pedestrian, U.S. insurance companies today may be trying to use jaywalking as an excuse for blaming injured pedestrians in some auto accidents. One reason is to avoid paying medical bills.
However, an injured pedestrian is not always to blame for motor vehicle accidents and a pedestrian injury claim in such situations may be legitimate. A strong law firm can represent a pedestrian who has taken careful care not to be injured in a car accident, especially a pedestrian crossing with regard to traffic laws, traffic signals, unmarked pedestrian crossings, and traffic rules.
Yes, understanding that the injured pedestrian is mostly not the culprit, injury attorneys are interested in representing pedestrians in pedestrian accidents, but they must first investigate the facts of each individual case. Rothenberg law firm’s team of personal injury attorneys will help you determine if you have a case. Contact our company for a free consultation.