18 June 2023

In Defense of Jaywalking (in neighborhood street)

Have you ever being in a car that passes through a narrow strip of street where people seems to have low sensitivity of the presence of vehicles? They walk close to the middle of the street, they cross without looking, children carelessly stroll, in short, jaywalking.

Especially for the person that's driving, it must be an awkward situation or even stressful. The narrow street becomes even narrower with the presence of the people, the vehicle can only move very slowly, and the driver got to make sure that they don't hit anyone.

This piece would argue that that is exactly how a neighborhood street should be: People walk freely, how they want to walk, without fear of being grazed by motorized vehicles.

The presence of people on the street disturbs the movement of vehicles.

We can understand if the presence of people at a toll roads is considered as disturbance. In a narrow neighborhood street, we can say the other way around, that the presence of motorized vehicles is a disturbance for the people on the street.

Both the people and the vehicle should move and stay on their designated spaces.

Often there's no dedicated place to walk in narrow streets. And the reality that it is narrow should inform that it is in fact a neighborhood street, very close to where people live, and therefore should be used in share with people having daily outdoor activity.

At least people should be more careful for their own safety.

That is shifting responsibility to the weaker party for the convenience of the more powerful party. And since the people are where they should be, that can be considered as victim blaming.

People should get used to urban living, motorized vehicle is part of reality.

No. People with motorized vehicles should get used to modern landscape of thinking that walking is, not only a part of urban reality but a better way of mobility compared to motorized vehicle and should be endorsed.

While motorized vehicle has been around for 300 years, people has been walking the earth since 300,000 years ago, it is one of the earliest skills in the first two years of the life of a human baby and should be cherished as an equal birthright of mobility, in contrast, the access and ownership of motorized vehicle heavily depend on the other means a.k.a. money and income, therefore first and foremost the right of mobility on the street are not for the motorized vehicle but instead for the people and they can walk the way they want to walk, while the fact that in most cases it's the other way around that means an offense, an attack, by the motorized vehicle mode of mobility against the walking mode of mobility, if that antagonistic situation is caused by how the city is planned then the planning of the city is wrong and need to be overhauled, and if the law restrict such overhauling which as a result stripped people from their basic right for safe walking mode of mobility, then the law need to be overhauled as well.

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