Reader questions road rules for pedestrians

Dear Street Smarts, Q: Hardly a day goes by that I don't come across an individual or group walking down the middle of a street or on the wrong side facing oncoming traffic. I understand when there is no sidewalk, which we have quite a few places like this, but most of the people I see walking in the street are on streets with sidewalks. The same goes for people who are running. If jaywalking is illegal, I assume walking in the street is. Thank you, Stephen Hauskins, Santa Cruz A: "To start I would like to state that if you observe anyone violating the law or doing something felt to be unsafe, we encourage you to call dispatch and report it at 831-471-1131," said Sgt. Scott Garner, traffic unit supervisor for the Santa Cruz Police Department. "The California Vehicle Code is very clear on what is and what isn’t acceptable behavior by a pedestrian in or about to enter a roadway. It is illegal to obstruct traffic or cause a hazard in the roadway so again if someone is doing this, please notify dispatch. “'Jaywalking' is covered by California Vehicle Code section 21955 and only applies when there are two adjacent intersections with traffic control 'signals' and/or being directed by police officers. The section that applies to pedestrians when walking 'in' the roadway is 21956CVC which states: '21956.(a) No pedestrian may walk upon any roadway outside of a business or residence district otherwise than close to his or her left-hand edge of the roadway. (b) A pedestrian may walk close to his or her right-hand edge of the roadway if a crosswalk or other means of safely crossing the roadway is not available or if existing traffic or other conditions would compromise the safety of a pedestrian attempting to cross the road.' "Santa Cruz Municipal Code section 10.36.20 regulates that pedestrians shall not cross a roadway in a central traffic district or business district anywhere but in a crosswalk. "Here is a great breakdown regarding “Sharing the roadway” from the DMV website. "The Santa Cruz Police Department enforces all vehicle codes through education and enforcement. We encourage anyone that observes any unsafe behaviors by vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles or other transportation devices, to notify us immediately. Santa Cruz is an amazing city with numerous pathways, trails and endless stunning scenery. We want to ensure that our streets are safe for everyone and we appreciate the community helping us achieve that objective!"
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