Tag Archives: pedlaw

Woman killed crossing street in Ahwatukee

48th Street, Phoenix, just south of Ray Road.
48th Street, Phoenix, just south of Ray Road.

Saturday night 2/12/2016 ~ 9:45PM. Victim Nina Hale, 68. 48th Street south of Ray Road, Phoenix (the “Ahwatukee” area of Phoenix).

Victim wasn’t in a crosswalk — case closed! I should admit right up front I have no particular idea of what actually happened. It is quite possible, likely even, that the driver was doing nothing legally wrong — i.e. they already said he didn’t seem to be impaired, and it’s likely he was driving within what is considered a reasonable speed — and the victim was doing “everything” legally wrong, because a pedestrian outside of a crosswalk must yield to any vehicles on the roadway. That said, this is going to turn into a rant about high-speed arterial roadway design so beloved by sunbelt traffic engineers… Continue reading Woman killed crossing street in Ahwatukee

Officer resigns – misunderstands jaywalking and ID law

[2/17/2015 update: Officer Ferrin has resigned. ASU released a chief’s letter and an independent investigation commissioned by ASU performed by  Investigative Research Inc.  (apparently through public records?) I would describe as scathing, and that corroborates most of what I thought/said below, see the lengthy news story on azcentral — There is no law requiring peds to provide an ID card (in other words his saying “Let me see your ID or you will be arrested for failing to provide ID” is wrong, see  Arizona v Akins, below); there was no ‘jaywalking’, see link below to the actual jaywalking laws; there was probably no probable cause for the arrest; he didn’t “almost run her over”; 5 days earlier the officer had a similar (but non-physical) power-trip incident over a crosswalk. and on and on. The transcript, see below, confirms Officer Ferrin doesn’t understand the (ID) law]

see are-cyclists-required-to-carry-id-are-pedestrians-updated-2014/

Are Cyclists Required to Carry ID? Are Pedestrians? Updated 2014

[2/17/2015 update: Officer Ferrin has resigned. ASU released a chief’s letter and an independent investigation commissioned by ASU performed by  Investigative Research Inc.  (apparently through public records?) I would describe as scathing, and that corroborates most of what I thought/said below, see the lengthy news story on azcentral — There is no law requiring peds to provide an ID card (in other words his saying “Let me see your ID or you will be arrested for failing to provide ID” is wrong, see  Arizona v Akins, below); there was no ‘jaywalking’, see link below to the actual jaywalking laws; there was probably no probable cause for the arrest; he didn’t “almost run her over”; 5 days earlier the officer had a similar (but non-physical) power-trip incident over a crosswalk. and on and on. The transcript, see below, confirms Officer Ferrin doesn’t understand the (ID) law]

[2015 update to the Ore incident: in an apparent about-face, ASU has moved to terminate Officer Stewart Ferrin over the matter; apparently as the result of an un-released independent review by an “outside agency”. ]

In 1999 Tucson bicyclist Enol Daniel Ortiz Jr. spent the night in jail for not having ID on him. It appears that now (since 2003) cyclists and other non-motorists have no legal obligation to carry identification.

The update in 2014  is due to the unusual case of Ersula Ore, an English professor at ASU. She was apparently “jaywalking” when she got into an altercation with ASU police. From what I can see this on College Ave, somewhere north of University Dr. This is a public street in the city of Tempe (there seems to be some confusion and many erroneous comments about this; this location is not “on campus” or somesuch). Tempe’s codes for pedestrians are here; ASU is NOT in the “central business district”, the more-restrictive “jaywalking” code only applies in the CBD so it leads me to wonder if she was really jaywalking at all. Jaywalking codes, real or imagined, are frequently used to assert superiority by motorists (the police officers were driving cars) over pedestrians.

Continue reading Are Cyclists Required to Carry ID? Are Pedestrians? Updated 2014

Jaywalking in Arizona

peds not welcome

Tom Vanderbuilt’s latest Slate column discusses jaywalking and why its enforcement is really just pro-car bias, and not the danger to pedestrians that is claimed. Tom is the author of Traffic:Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), and blogs at howwedrive.com.

The State Statute

[see ped-excerpts.html for a handy index of all the ped laws in ARS] What would normally be referred to as “jaywalking” (the term does not appear anywhere in the law) is section C, and rarely occurs outside of dense downtown core areas…

28-793. Crossing at other than crosswalk
A. A pedestrian crossing 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 on the roadway.
B. A pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway.
C. Between adjacent intersections at which traffic control signals are in operation, pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.

In Arizona, cities are authorized to enact their own pedestrian regulations; so you need to look at each and ever jurisdiction; here are two:

Jaywalking in Tempe

This is all kindof interesting due to the Ersula Ore incident near ASU (which occured not in the Tempe’s CBD). So here are Tempe’s codes, see Chapter 19:

Sec. 19-1(2) Central business district means all streets and portions of streets within the area described as follows. All that area bounded by the salt river on the north, to 10th Street on the south and from Myrtle Avenue on the east to Maple Avenue on the west. [note: the ASU campus is, mostly, not in the central business district. Rather it is east of the CBD.]

Sec. 19-151. Crossing a roadway.
(a) No pedestrian shall cross the roadway within the central business district other than within a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
(b) Every pedestrian crossing a roadway outside of the central business district at any point other than within a marked or unmarked crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
(c) No pedestrian shall cross a roadway where signs or traffic control signals prohibit such crossing.

Jaywalking in Mesa

Consider these statements of two officials from the Mesa Police Department:

Jaywalking, when a person walks anywhere other than a designated crosswalk, is a crime, Mesa police spokeswoman Diana Tapia said.

“…It is a concern and it’s illegal,” [Mesa Police Crime Prevention Officer Patty] Gallagher said

— Mesa reminder: Jaywalking not only illegal, it’s unsafe. The Arizona Republic January 9, 2008

First off, jaywalking is not in any way-shape-or-form a crime, it is a civil matter — but we can write that off to sloppy wording. More substantively, Ms. Tapia is apparently unaware (as are many drivers!) of the concept of an “unmarked” crosswalk! (*all* intersections have crosswalks; regardless of striping or no… unless crossing is expressly prohibited). Also, jaywalking (though not defined legally in Arizona) means “crossing between intersections”, which is typically not prohibited.

Sadly, both officials show either ignorance of the law, or disregard for what the law actually says.  (The Mesa, AZ ordinance is reproduced below). In order for it to actually be illegal, it must be either between two adjacent intersections with signals, or in the “business district” (What most people would call the Mesa business district is a tiny area clustered around Main St. / however as pointed out in the comment below, the defn in Mesa City Code is rather expansive).

I see parallels here in what is an apparent pro-car/anti-ped bias of police departments spilling over to pro-car/anti-cyclist bias. For example, the Tucson Police Department routinely run stings at stop signs to ticket cyclists who roll through; which is illegal but rarely fatal (I’m not aware of any fatalities in Tucson caused by the cyclist running a stop sign). At the same time, police rarely (a total of 3 over an 18month period by Tuscon PD) ticket motorists for passing cyclists too closely — behavior that regularly kills people.  And this is all done under the aegis of enhancing cyclist safety — so be careful what you wish for when lobbying for additional money for enforcement, it is likely to get (mis)used for things that have no demonstrable link to our safety.

Mionske’s slant on the same topic.

Mesa City Code, see Title 10 Section 3 part 19:

When Pedestrian Shall Yield. (Reso. 990,1771)

1. Every pedestrian crossing 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. (Reso. 990,1771)

(F) Prohibited Crossing. Between adjacent intersections at which traffic-control signals are in operation, pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a crosswalk, and no pedestrian shall cross a roadway other than in a crosswalk in any business district.


Arizona state law is even more plain. see ARS §28-0793, Crossing at other than a crosswalk. See also azbikelaw.org/pedlaw/excerpts for a roundup of pedestrian laws.

Unmarked crosswalks at ‘T’ Intersections

(I’m warehousing this info here because I don’t know where else to put it, and I expect I’ll be able to find it if I keep it with the ped topic of jaywalking)

‘T’ intersections have THREE crosswalks, be they marked or unmarked (unless crossing is specifically prohibited by sign).

I was under the mis-impression it has always been that way — it turns out that it’s not always been that way… as it turns out, it has only been since a 1981 legislation that added the words “prolongation or” to the definition of crosswalk. Details:

In 1977, Kauffman v Schroeder (116 Ariz 104) a lower court declined to give jury instruction regarding §28-0793: “pedestrian must yield when crossing at other than crosswalk”. The driver appealed to the supreme court, who reversed the opinion, writing that the definition of crosswalk (at the time) required a sidewalk on both sides of an intersection.

In 1981, SB1201 passed, adding the words “prolongation or” to what is now ARS §28-0601(3).

In 1983, Boulware v Carbajal (138 Ariz 118) was a case very similar to Kauffman, both regarding pedestrians killed when crossing parallel to the terminating leg of a T intersection, and both regarding jury instruction of 793). I forget the details, but the court ruled that the change made in SB1201 was not merely “procedural” and thus not be applied retroactively. So I guess it was a party for the deceased pedestrian appealing, who apparently failed to get the new wording effective for their case, but perhaps the collision was from early 1981?? If that’s true it’s unfortunately, but I guess doesn’t matter now..

So T-intersections have crosswalks, whether or not marked.

Nice Page and Diagrams from Florida

bikewalkcentralflorida.org has a great resource page with great illustrations and explanations of FL pedestrian laws (and bicyclists, unlike AZ in FL, bicyclists on sidewalks and crosswalks are explicitly declared).

drivers MUST stop whenever there's a stopped vehicle at a crosswalk (marked or UNMARKED!)
drivers MUST stop whenever there’s a stopped vehicle at a crosswalk (marked or UNMARKED!)

The History of “Jaywalking”

The definitive history of “jaywalking” is Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City, by Peter Norton. In it he documents what can only be described as dirty tricks orchestrated and performed by those with vested interests in the automobile industry (which he collectively refers to as “motordom”).

For a humorized look at the history of “jaywalking” based on Peter Norton’s book be sure to check out Adam Ruins Everything – Why Jaywalking Is a Crime