Jaywalking is Safe Walking


Daniel Kochupura, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Now that we’ve returned to the cafeteria, the bustle of students traveling to and from the cafeteria is more crowded than ever. While the administration ignores the (im)practical, (not at all) financially savvy option of building a bridge from the Bayard-side door to the student entrance, we make a daily decision either to walk to the corner and cross when the Morewood light turns green or to just… not. It goes without saying that I have never witnessed, perpetrated, or even thought of jaywalking. Obviously. Just to get that out there ahead of time. But in real life, jaywalking is often a safer option than crossing at the corner during the light, and the school should allow us to do so.

Disclaimer: this only applies to high schoolers (and faculty, if they would be so bold). If you’re in middle school or younger, disregard everything I’m about to say and go start a middle school section of Voices. If you can read, you can write. You seem to think I’m joking. Go on. Send some emails. Write some articles. This is your school too.

Firstly, people are more careful when they’re jaywalking. When you cross at the light, there’s an entitlement; there’s a complacency. This feeling may lead to preventable accidents, regardless of how valid that thought may be. When you cross on your own terms, you take it upon yourself to make sure the road is clear. Trust yourself more than you trust a fancy stop sign and flawed drivers to ensure your own safety. Jaywalk.

Secondly, from a technical perspective, jaywalking makes sense. Are you more likely to get hit by a car when two-ton machines are swooping left and right or when there aren’t any around? This is often the question posed to students, and too often, we’re told to choose the wrong one.

Thirdly, there is momentum behind the acceptance of jaywalking. Just today, California decriminalized jaywalking, saying that citizens could cross when it was safe. Jaywalking laws were pushed through by lobbyists in the 20th century, and they don’t reflect what best serves the country. The pendulum had swung towards allowance. We should take notice.

There are two instances where we should forgo the “are there cars logic” to instead use the crosswalk.

Firstly, if there is a security guard, use the crosswalk. Do this not just out of respect for the person who’s going into the street to ensure your safe passage (even though that, really, is reason enough); do it also because crossing will never be safer than when a crossing guard is there. Although jaywalking is preferable to crossing when cars are veering this way and that, the presence of a nylon-clad, stop sign-bearing security guard is as secure as it gets. They’re going to make sure you get across, and at that point, there’s nothing more effective.

Secondly, if there are children around, use the crosswalk.

Young kids will never say, “while I disagree with the premise on which you’re basing your logic, I shall respect your wishes and never imitate you in crossing the street anywhere besides the corner. It’s not like we don’t have bigger problems—mortgage rates are past 7%, and I haven’t had a nap in hours.” You must be an example of how they should act. If a car flies down Bayard, small ones might not be big enough to catch the driver’s attention. The fail-safe isn’t as safe. Out of caution, you shouldn’t get jaywalking into their tiny, impressionable heads.

Consider jaywalking. We all want to be safe, and whatever safe means to you, act accordingly.