Jill Kolodner | May 10, 2022 | Maryland Law
Maryland has a surprising number of pedestrian traffic laws. Many of these laws restate common sense. For example, under Maryland law, you cannot cross the road against a red light.
Maryland has these laws so the police can ticket you for pedestrian violations. The goal is to keep pedestrians safe from cars. When pedestrians do unexpected things, pedestrian accidents often happen.
Here is an overview of Maryland jaywalking laws and when the police can issue a ticket for jaywalking.
Jay-Walking Under Maryland Law
Maryland’s vehicle laws do not use the term “jay-walking” since it has many definitions. In its narrowest definition, jay-walking means crossing in the middle of the block. But most legislatures use the term to broadly include all illegal pedestrian crossings.
To avoid confusion, Maryland omits the word jay-walking from its traffic code. Instead, the commonwealth provides six statutes covering several ways a pedestrian can commit a jay-walking offense.
Crossing Anywhere Other than Crosswalks or Intersections
Pedestrians can cross the road in the middle of a block or at an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, but only if the intersection lacks a stoplight. If the nearest intersection has a stoplight, the pedestrian must walk to the intersection to cross.
In other words, on roads with traffic lights, pedestrians can only cross a road at a marked crosswalk. If the pedestrian crosses anywhere else, the police can issue a ticket.
On roads without traffic lights, a pedestrian can legally cross in the middle of the block but must yield to automobile traffic when crossing.
This gives a very narrow answer to the question about whether you can get a traffic ticket for jay-walking without any cars nearby.
- Crossing a road without traffic lights without cars around is not jay-walking.
- Crossing a road without traffic lights with cars around is jay-walking because you must yield.
- Crossing a road with traffic lights without cars around is jay-walking because you can only cross at marked crosswalks.
- Crossing a road with traffic lights with cars around is jay-walking because you can only cross at marked crosswalks, and you must yield.
In scenarios 2 and 3, you can receive a citation with a fine of $40 to $500. A police officer can issue two citations for scenario 4 because you broke two pedestrian crossing laws. As a result, you may pay a double fine in scenario 4.
Crossing the Road Instead of Using a Tunnel or Bridge
Maryland has a law to encourage pedestrians to use pedestrian tunnels and bridges. If you cross a roadway with a pedestrian tunnel or bridge, you must yield to nearby cars. This means:
- Crossing a road with a pedestrian tunnel or bridge without cars is not jay-walking.
- Crossing a road with a pedestrian tunnel or bridge with cars around is jay-walking because you must yield.
A citation for the second violation can result in a fine of $40 to $500.
Crossing Against a Signal
You can also commit jay-walking by crossing against a signal. You can violate the law regardless of whether there are cars around. In other words, if a police officer sees you cross against a signal, you can receive a citation even if the road is clear.
You cannot cross a road when you have a steady red light. This jay-walking ticket will cost you more than the other violations, with a fine of $80 to $500. Maryland imposes a greater fine for this citation because you can cause a car accident if you cross against a red light.
You also cannot enter a crosswalk when you have a steady “Don’t Walk” or raised hand signal. This jay-walking violation results in a fine of $40 to $500.
Resolving Jay-Walking Tickets
You will take care of your jay-walking tickets the same way you take care of automobile tickets. You can go to court to challenge the ticket or you can pay the fine.