Wonder Why Wednesday: Jaywalking

What are a few of the worst things someone can do to get arrested?

Did any of you think of jaywalking?

Probably not, but that is a crime. And what an odd name for a crime that refers to reckless pedestrian crossing of a road.

Why is it called jaywalking anyway? Why not call it illegal walking or christopherwalking?

Let’s find out in today’s edition of Wonder Why Wednesday!

Why Is It Called Jaywalking?

According to Wikipedia, jaywalking dates back to 1909 and was put in place to refine streets as places where pedestrians do not belong.

Apparently the jay in jaywalking was a synonym for “rube”, a term for a rural resident who was assumed to be stupid and naive. A jay was basically someone who was too dumb to stay out of the way of oncoming traffic.

Check out this hilarious anti-jaywalking poster from 1937.

Jaywalking Big

Their “jay” kind of looks like Frankenstein and it appears that he is almost passed the car which to me means that the car had to speed up to hit him. But I don’t blame the driver. If i saw a Frankenstein in the middle of the street I would probably try to hit it too.

Also, isn’t the driver normally on the left side of the car? This driver appears to to be on the right or at the very least the middle of the car. And what is the policeman doing? He looks like a baseball umpire calling a runner safe. To me, the Frankenstein clearly looks out, but maybe the tie goes to the walker.

So there you have it. The term jaywalking comes from the name Jay which is a synonym for dummy.



Photo credit: Wikipedia