Fines for “Careless Walking” – A Good Idea for DC?

Last weekend I rode the Capital Crescent trail and laughed when I saw the sign above at the Georgetown entrance. Then I saw this report from USA Today:

“This spring, Fort Lee, N.J., police began issuing $85 fines for careless walking, and the Utah Transit Authority made distracted walking around trains punishable by a $50 fine.”

Seems like “careless” or “distracted” walking would be very difficult to enforce but do you think it’s a good idea?

32 Comment

  • Dear God: PLEASE make this a reality… please….

  • austindc

    Woah, Utah’s Transit Authority looks awesome!

    But careless walking sounds like it’s hard to define. What if I want to stroll through the park and leave my cares behind? Kind of seems like they could just enforce pedestrian laws that already exist and aren’t so vague.

  • brookland_rez

    If it’s enforced as poorly as the distracted driving laws I don’t think it really matters.

  • oh yes, please! i was just thinking today about how crazy it is in DC that people jaywalk and never look both ways before crossing. how CRAZY is that people? you deserve a ticket if you are going to do that, seriously.

  • I call them “The Wanderers” and they drive me absolutely insane. It’s like they have some innate compulsion to zigzag across every square inch of sidewalk. Experienced wanderers can get a good 5-10 people backed up behind them. At least when they’re texting I know why they’re doing it. It’s the phoneless wanderers that worry me the most.

  • I don’t see how this could work. There’s way too much careless driving. I take my life in my own hands every time I step into a crosswalk in this town.

  • Maybe it would cut down on people getting their iPhones snatched out of their hands if there was a deterrent to holding it out playing games while walking!

  • Is careless walking like planking? I see a new meme coming, “how many people can you slow down on the sidewalk in Georgetown?” “saw a guy get 14 yesterday, including two furious runners!”

  • “Careless walking” seems a bit subjective. What if I’m not being careless and know exactly what I’m doing–just not caring about it?

    Best of luck to you, New Jersey.

  • RIDICULOUS… no monetary fines for being an idiot. Is this what it’s come down to, people?

  • Yes, we need to regulate every movement of every person, every day. Have we not watched the Bear Patrol episode of Simpsons?

  • Just as they have been known to do to injured bicyclists, it would become another ticket the police would issue against any pedestrian who is mowed down by a cabbie and unable to give his or her own statement of events. Victim can’t speak? No problem, just take the car drivers statement of events as fact and cite the walker.

  • I don’t see much of careless walking problem. I DO see a massive careless biking problem though. But as much as I’d like to see bikers that blow through red lights and stop signs be deterred I think the city has bigger law enforcement issues that it might want to concentrate on.

    • Careless biking is a real epidemic. Was thinking of riding my bike to work and wondering if I will also be an idiot about it. If you are going to ride with traffic, obey the traffic laws. Otherwise at least obey the laws of nature, physics and common sense, nobody wants to see you get hurt.

  • Have you seen how many people still talk on their phones and drive without getting a ticket? You really think a law like this would make a difference?

  • I aspire to walk carelessly.

  • A careless walker bumped into my child and thrusted him into traffic. Luckly I was holding his hand and was able to pull him back to safety. We were at least three feet away from the curb but the thrust sent my child into othe air. The jerk just shrugged his shoulders and continued texting. After yelling at him, he just commented that there is nothing wrong with texting while walking and that my child was OK, so why was I so upset.

    • if someone hit my child so hard she flew three feet and shrugged in response, i would probably black out and beat them senseless.

  • “You can’t fix stupid.” They can make all the laws they want to protect ourselves from being stupid, but it will just go on.

    That texting sign should also include taking phone calls while riding as well. Last weekend, this woman on a bike was on the phone chatting away. She was swerving all over the path and I felt was a danger to her and anyone else who around her. if you need to chat, stop and get off the bike.

  • These laws are sometimes intended to protect drivers. If a driver hits a careless walker then the driver could well suffer emotional trauma.

    Careless walker epidemics cause drivers to drive more slowly thus slowing overall traffic flow.

    Young people these days are protected from learning how to respect traffic. Areas near schools are so adapted to slowing traffic that a child couldn’t possibly learn the risks involved when crossing the street. Take for example 34th St, just south of Reno Rd in NW. The traffic lights are synchronized such that traffic on 34th St and any side streets cannot excede 5 mph. And this is from at least 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM. I can’t suggest changing these precautions, just citing their potential consequences.

  • “Lead, follow, or get the [email protected] out of the way”

  • Kyle B 27

    Are y’all crazy? With all the vicious assaults we’ve seen lately you want the cops to focus on nannying clueless, texting, pedestrians??

  • The notion that the government ought to criminalize even the smallest mistake is simply absurd.

  • until they start enforcing the ‘hands-free phone/no texting” laws for CARS, which i see violated multiple times a day, every single solitary day that i walk, they’d better not try to ticket me for being a pedestrian on the phone. see, the difference here is, i’m not a two-ton object that can kill someone.

  • We’re always just one more government regulation away from our perfect world, aren’t we?

  • It’s the careless walkers that text or talk through the intersection when they light is green for the cars that are going to get hit.

  • How about no more laws regulating stupid sh*t and give people a little room to breathe, and let people screw themselves and others up from time to time without overdramatic legislative overreactions to everything? And, make the death penalty for corporations legal.

Comments are closed.