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The legality of jaywalking?

Across the road and back again, jaywalkers can be found constantly crossing in front of the Lake City Casino. However contrary to popular belief these people are not breaking the law as jaywalking isn't a ticketable offence in Kelowna.

According to Kelowna City Clerk  Stephen Fleming  there is no provision in the city's traffic by-law that prohibits crossing the street mid block.

"Nor, is there in the motor vehicle act which speaks to if a pedestrian is not crossing at a designated crossing walk then they have to yield the right of way to on coming traffic," explains Fleming.

However pedestrians could be ticketed if they do not yield to on coming traffic or walk against a red light or designated stop walking hand signal.

"Crossing in the middle of a block or not in a crosswalk doesn't really have a fine amount attached to it," says Cst. Kris Clark. "But if you jump out in front of a car and do something nuts that jeopardizes your safety then certainly that is a ticketable offence."

Questions surrounded jaywalking come after a 90-year-old man was struck by a vehicle and taken to hospital as he was leaving the Casino Tuesday night.

At the same time, another Kelowna man is awaiting his fate in court after being convicted of impaired driving. Back in 2010 Cody Richard Wengenmayr  struck and killed six-year-old Trey Alphonse and injured his mother, Iris Alphonse, as the two jaywalked across six lanes of traffic on Highway 97.

It's unclear why many had the belief that jaywalking was illegal, however, Fleming says it could be due to Hollywood movies or even stories from the US of people being fined for darting across the street where they shouldn't.

"Jaywalking is something the council could enact in a by-law, but we just haven't."

Fleming also points out that if a jaywalking by-law was enacted it would also mean dedicating a by-law officer to deal with the offences.

So if you are going to make a run for it across the street, make sure to look both ways and yield to on coming traffic.
 





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