Should crossing the street outside of a crosswalk be illegal? A new bill that appeared before the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Transportation says "YES" and is proposing increased fines.

John Roman

Under the existing law, jaywalking fines are $1 for the first, second and third offenses. Offenses after that are $2. The jaywalking legislation now being considered proposes a $25 fine for a first offense, $50 for a second and $100 for a third. Those fines would be doubled for those caught wearing headphones or using a cell phone. $200. Now that's a real chunk of change, if you ask me.

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Currently, you’re technically allowed to cross as long as you’re at least 300 feet from a crosswalk in Massachusetts. Under the new bill, filed by Rep. Colleen Garry, crossing anywhere outside a crosswalk would be subject to fines.

Massachusetts State House on Boston Freedom Trail
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Transportation advocates are criticizing the new bill and asking lawmakers to take it off the table. Deputy Director of WalkBoston, Brendan Kearney is against the proposed bill:

“This is just not realistic in Massachusetts. I don’t think it’s a good bill. “You’re making it so there could be selective enforcement.”

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The Massachusetts Joint Committee on Transportation has yet to determine if this bill will move on to another hearing.

Under the bill, cities and towns could also adopt a local option to impose fines on pedestrians who cross intersections diagonally, rather than crossing one street and then turning to cross another, where there is no signal or marking allowing them to do so.

attachment-Framingham. MA

(photo image of Framingham, MA courtesy of

Kearney described Central Street in Framingham as an example of road infrastructure where a broad ban on jaywalking would not fit. On his stretch of the road, only one side has a sidewalk and crosswalks are spaced out.

(Some information obtained in this article courtesy of

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