Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

What every Brit should know about jaywalking

BBC News Magazine has an article up entitled What every Brit should know about jaywalking. Jaywalking, as in the act of attempting to cross a road without using a properly-marked crossing, is actually illegal in many parts of the world, and an incident in Atlanta, USA lead to a British historian being wrestled to the ground and arrested for it.

Jaywalking is not really a concept that we have in the UK; though you are encouraged from an early age to use proper crossings and to make sure you use the Green Cross Code when crossing, you can essentially cross any road where it is safe to do so. Motorways, and roads where pedestrians are forbidden, are obviously the exception.


  1. jaywalking is such a stupid law – it’s really embarrassing to be standing on a street corner looking like a complete dork waiting to cross the road when there are no cars coming for about 20 miles but the pedestrian light is red.

  2. I live in the U.S., and that story sounds bizarre even to me. My experience is that jaywalking laws are almost never enforced. As a college student, I crossed streets in midblock countless times in Columbia, SC, and I do it all the time now in Raleigh, NC. No cop has so much as frowned at me for this.
    I’ve even been to Atlanta a couple of times for science fiction conventions, and I stayed at hotels several blocks away from the con, traveling between them on foot. So I’m sure I must have done some jaywalking in Atlanta, but I was never hassled about it.
    I don’t know how to account for this incident.