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Tracking Jaywalkers' Jaunt

June 15, 2012, 5:55 PM by Perry Groten

Tracking Jaywalkers' Jaunt

People who may be tempted to jaywalk will want to think twice about it in the aftermath of this week's hit-and-run crash in Sioux Falls that injured a 32-year-old man.

Police say the victim wasn't in the crosswalk when he was struck by a car that sped away early Wednesday morning.  The accident happened on Minnesota Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets.    

But people tell us a bigger problem area for jaywalking is a few blocks farther north on Minnesota Avenue in front of the YMCA.

So, we picked a busy time of day, the lunch hour, to see who's using the crosswalks, like they're supposed to, and who's straying from them.  Within five minutes, we spotted one pedestrian cutting across the street and many more followed in his footsteps.

Perry: Do you think it would be better to use the crosswalk?
Pedestrian: Oh yeah, I'm sure.

Perry: Why did you cross?
Pedestrian: Everybody does it. I mean, it's been like that forever and ever and ever, I guess.

Jaywalking happens when someone fails to use the crosswalk when stepping into traffic, forcing vehicles to slow down or steer away from the pedestrian.  It's not jaywalking when someone walks onto a street that's clear of moving vehicles.

Some pedestrians who waited for a break in the traffic said it's safer walking across the middle of a block rather than at an intersection crossing where they feel at risk of being struck by a turning car.

The temptation to cut across the street is always present, especially when you're in a hurry, but taking the crosswalk is always the safest route.

Perry: Why didn't you use the crosswalk?
Pedestrian: Oh, it's just closer, I just walk across here because is clears out.

Within just a half hour, we counted as many as eight people who may have been jaywalking.

Jaywalking is classified as a petty offense.  If police catch you in the act, they could write you a $25 ticket.

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