If you choose to jaywalk in Boston, you should obviously be aware of cars and bikes, but you shouldn’t really fear getting a fine. Because that fine is $1.
Boston Magazine reported:
The Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90, Section 18A states that municipalities can fine pedestrians who break jaywalking rules ‘by a fine of one dollar for the first, second or third such offense … and by a fine of two dollars for the fourth or subsequent such offense so committed in such calendar year.’
Most likely, the law has not been updated in over a year.
According to Boston Magazine, “it seems that communities set the fine at $1 when it was a more substantial slap on the wrist, and they just haven’t raised it since.’’
Let’s hope they don’t.
The Harvard Crimson reported on this issue in Cambridge in 1964:
“Cambridge has gone to a good deal of trouble to prepare for the anti-jaywalking law–the first of its kind in the Boston area. Last August the city installed ‘Walk’ ‘Don’t Walk’ signs in Harvard Square, and, more recently, it bought $10,000 worth of light-reflecting paint to paint crosswalks.’’
The measly fine may seem funny, but jaywalking is not always a laughing matter.
WCVB reported that in 2006 there were 693 pedestrians hit by cars and 14 of them were killed. At the time, the Boston officials were considering a hike in jaywalking fines, but so far, nothing has happened.
Bostonians and visitors have varied opinions on jaywalking:
Everyone jaywalks in this town! Even the cars do the car equivalent of jaywalking! Stop lights don't mean anything! Oh, Boston. Tsk tsk!— Mika Anna (@mikaannav) July 22, 2014
Week five in Boston: my qualms about jaywalking have utterly disappeared— ~ cami lle ~ (@ceebelanger) July 21, 2014
Pedestrians from Boston, know traffic lights are followed slavishly in NYC. Jaywalking may=death. & beware rt turns, bc of no rt on red rule— Amanda Katz (@katzish) April 11, 2014
@HubbuchNYP I moved from Boston to here and received a jaywalking ticket once. Couldn't believe it. Thought he was joking.— Todd Dybas (@Todd_Dybas) February 3, 2014
Be careful, jaywalkers of Boston, and make sure you always have at least a buck on you.