Is It Illegal to Jaywalk in Colorado? Here’s What the Law Says

Ever been in a hurry and darted across the street mid-block? Or maybe you’ve waited impatiently at a crosswalk with no signal in sight. We’ve all jaywalked at some point. But is it illegal in Colorado? The answer depends on where you are in the state.

What is jaywalking?

Jaywalking is the act of a pedestrian crossing a road anywhere other than a designated crosswalk or marked intersection. This can include crossing mid-block, diagonally, or even in a marked crosswalk when the pedestrian signal isn’t green.

Why are there jaywalking laws?

Jaywalking laws are in place to promote safety for both pedestrians and drivers. Crossing outside of designated areas can create confusion and increase the risk of accidents.

Jaywalking Laws in Colorado

Current State Law

In most of Colorado, jaywalking is considered a Class B Traffic Infraction. This means it’s not as serious as a speeding ticket, but you can still be fined up to $100 if caught by a police officer.

Denver Decriminalization Effort

In an interesting twist, Denver took a different approach in early 2023. The Denver City Council voted to decriminalize jaywalking. This means that while jaywalking technically remains a violation of state law, the Denver Police Department is instructed to make it their lowest enforcement priority. They will likely only cite pedestrians for jaywalking if it’s involved in a collision or another serious offense.

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Penalties for Jaywalking in Colorado

While Denver has relaxed enforcement, outside of the city limits, jaywalking can still result in a fine. The exact amount will vary depending on the county and specific circumstances, but generally, expect to pay between $25 and $100.

Pedestrian Safety in Colorado

Risks of jaywalking

Regardless of the legal implications, jaywalking is simply dangerous. Pedestrians are much more vulnerable than cars in an accident. Here are some of the risks:

  • Reduced visibility: Drivers may not expect pedestrians to be crossing outside of designated areas, increasing the chances of an accident.
  • Limited reaction time: Both drivers and pedestrians have less time to react when jaywalking occurs.
  • Unpredictable behavior: Drivers may not anticipate the direction or speed of a jaywalking pedestrian.

Safe pedestrian practices

  • Always use marked crosswalks and intersections whenever possible.
  • Wait for the pedestrian signal to turn green before crossing, even if there are no cars in sight.
  • Make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you before crossing.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and avoid distractions while walking.
  • Use designated pedestrian paths and sidewalks whenever available.
  • At night, wear reflective clothing to make yourself more visible to drivers.

Conclusion

Whether or not you get a ticket for jaywalking in Colorado depends on where you are. However, the safety risks associated with jaywalking are very real, regardless of location. By following safe pedestrian practices, we can all help to create a safer environment for everyone on the roads.

Additional Considerations

  • This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.
  • It’s important to note that jaywalking laws can change over time, so it’s always a good idea to check with local authorities for the most up-to-date information.
  • While Denver has decriminalized jaywalking, officers still have the authority to cite pedestrians if they believe it creates a dangerous situation.
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