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MailTribune.com
  • Jaywalking: It's legal, but you still have to follow the rules

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  • Several weeks ago you stated that Oregon does not have a jaywalking law. Yet, I see signs around Medford, posted between intersections, claiming: “Unlawful to Cross Here.” Are these signs a bluff that cannot be enforced? Also, who enforces stop sign rules on private property such as shopping malls? Can the police ticket stop sign runners on private land? — Larry Smith, Jacksonville
    Although I work for the Sheriff’s Office, I’m usually familiar with most roads and signs brought up by those sending me questions, even when they concern roads inside cities. But in this case, I couldn’t remember any of the signs you’re writing about, Larry.
    Upon a later reading it dawned on me that what you might mean is not “between” intersections, but “within” intersections.
    In the meantime, I’d gone to my favorite local fallback expert, Lt. Bob Hansen at the Medford Police Department, thinking he’d know about something inside the city that I’d missed.
    He reports being unaware of those signs unless you’re referring to the “no pedestrian crossing” at a couple of intersections, such as the north side of Riverside and Eighth, or north side of Riverside and Sixth.
    These are posted this way because of the dangerous nature of having pedestrians crossing at these intersections where a pedestrian would normally be able to cross.
    He also reports that these signs are enforceable if a pedestrian were to disobey them.
    The applicable statute is found in ORS 814.020, which says that a pedestrian commits the offense of failing to obey a traffic control device if the person fails to obey any traffic control device specifically applicable to the pedestrian. This offense is a Class D traffic violation, bail $97.
    As to my statement that there is no jaywalking law, I still stand by that, in part due to laws already on the books.
    I also checked to make sure that the city of Medford had not enacted their own municipal ordinance prohibiting jaywalking, but they had not.
    I’ll take on part two of your question about stop sign rules in a later column
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