Boston-9/24/2009- A group of pedestrians jaywalk across the BU Bridge crosswalk parallel to Commonwealth Avenue despite a don't walk sign facing them and behind them. The traffic still had a green light. Boston Globe staff photo by John Tlumacki (metro) David Fillipov is reporter Library Tag 10112009 National/Foreign Page One
A group of pedestrians jaywalk across the BU Bridge crosswalk parallel to Commonwealth Avenue despite a don't walk sign facing them and behind them. The traffic still had a green light.
JOHN TLUMACKI/ THE BOSTON GLOBE

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.’

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(Woah, harsh!)

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:

Be careful, jaywalkers of Boston, and make sure you always have at least a buck on you.