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Change Possibly Coming To California Crosswalk Signal Rules

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California lawmakers could soon tweak a rule that’s surprising to many people who use crosswalks. Right now it’s illegal to start crossing the street once the red hand starts flashing and the countdown is underway.

At a busy intersection in downtown Berkeley, the timer warns people they have 20 seconds to cross. But pedestrians like Amy Murray and Bukhari Baaset were surprised to hear once the timer starts ticking, they’re not supposed to step off the curb.

“I think that’s slightly ridiculous,” says Murray.

“So what you’re saying, like, if you start walking when it’s blinking, you’ll still get a ticket?” Asks Baaset.

That’s what the law is right now. Some people are trying to change it.

“Oh that’s crazy...yeah, they need to change that,” says Baaset. 

A report in the L.A. Times found in recent years thousands of Californians have received such tickets, which can cost $200 after fees. The new proposal would let people cross as long as there’s time to reach the other side. It passed the Assembly in May on a vote of 76 to 1.

Copyright 2017 Capital Public Radio