Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

Follow us on social
  • Review of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
    Let’s time-travel to the year 2012 and the world is raving about none other than Katniss Everdeen. I remember being in elementary school, begging my mother to let me dress up as her for my birthday. Now it’s over ten years later and I’m still just as excited for the new movie as I was […]
  • Found Family Books for the Holidays
    The holidays are quickly approaching and for some of us that means seeing our family. However, family has a loose definition. It could mean blood or who you were raised with. It could also mean people you’ve found during your life journey. Either way, the holidays are meant for spending quality time with those you […]

Jaywalking no joke to Iowa police

IOWA CITY, Iowa – As University of Iowa senior Aaron Myers stepped into the intersection of Clinton and Washington Streets, he nestled his nose into a copy of “Twenty Years at Hull House.”

He didn’t look up again until he had reached the sidewalk on the other side.

Although Myers trotted away this time without a citation, he could have faced a nearly $70 fine because of toughened police enforcement that now targets jaywalkers, which law enforcement calls an effort to boost pedestrian safety.

Since March, police in Iowa City, Iowa, have issued more jaywalking tickets than in the past two years combined, citing pedestrians for a crime many interviewed considered too minor to deserve punishment.

“I think, in some circumstances, [ticketing jaywalkers] is reasonable, but, in most cases, it’s ridiculous,” said Myers, who said he routinely crosses against the light when he isn’t obstructing traffic.

In 2004, Iowa City police issued six jaywalking citations. In 2005, one person was ticketed. This year, Iowa City police Sgt. Doug Hart said, officers have issued eight tickets as of last week for the violation.

Officer Ed McMartin said the bulk of his fight to curb jaywalking has involved cautioning dozens of pedestrians.

“Only in the most blatant of violations” did he issue a fine, the officer said. “A lot of times, you have swarms of pedestrians who go against traffic lights, and it’s frustrating to drivers.”

With students back in town, police were reminded to be vigilant and watch for traffic violations that could be dangerous, McMartin said.

“Eventually, the odds are someone’s going to get hit,” he said, adding that since he has started handing out citations, he has noticed a drop in the number of violations downtown.

The total cost of a jaywalking ticket, including court fees and surcharges, is approximately $69.

Though police champion the endeavor, many students complained about the increased enforcement.

“It’s hard enough for students to pay tuition,” said UI junior Chris Pryor. “Now [the city] wants to charge people for a petty crime?”

But Hart said money from jaywalking citations would “not even be a drop in the bucket of the city’s budget.”

As for the UI, Charles Green, the university’s assistant vice president for the UI police, said he didn’t remember his officers ever giving a ticket for jaywalking.

“It has just become a part of the culture,” he added.

Residents need to pay attention to why police are ticketing jaywalkers, Hart said, adding people cited on Aug. 22 were told by an officer not to cross against the light.

They were ticketed only if they ignored the officer and crossed anyway, he said.

“The motorists are just ecstatic about the [pedestrian tickets],” he said. “They say it’s about time.”

But UI junior Byron Stokes said motorists and pedestrians cramming downtown Iowa City could coexist without needing jaywalking citations to force the peace.

“I think we have to be careful of other drivers on the street, but I think it’s outrageous we get ticketed walking to class,” he said. “I always believed pedestrians had the right of way.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to BG Falcon Media

Your donation will support the student journalists of Bowling Green State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to BG Falcon Media

Comments (0)

All BG Falcon Media Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *