The Hot New Trend Running Over Sydney

by on 11 March, 2014

Lara Jeffery

It’s the death-defying trend taking Sydney by storm, putting you and your family at risk.

Fads have come and gone, but this one is showing signs of settling in to stay.

Are your kids safe?

“The safety of the public is paramount”, said a City of Sydney spokesperson. “Unfortunately many people do not take appropriate care.”

NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol operations commander Stuart Smith said, “[Sydney CBD] is a place where we all need to be aware and to keep a proper lookout”.

It’s not just popular among the young and urban: police representatives also point towards a  niche community of older Australians in regional areas, dedicated to this life-threatening trend.

“It’s a dangerous practice, especially in a big city like Sydney”, Sergeant Gary Thomas from the NSW Police Motorcycle Response Team said.

It’s called ‘jaywalking’ – a deadly portmanteau of ‘walking’ across the road, and ‘jay’, an old colloquial term for an idiot – and your kids are doing it.

Forums such as Reddit identify the origin of this scary new craze as 4Chan, the controversial and often illegal cesspool of the internet, but in spite of it’s high-tech origins ‘jaywalking’ appears to be a fad which isn’t going away.

‘Jaywalking’ has strong historical precursors, perhaps indicating that the culture may have grown over time – and even more terrifying, may still be growing.

 

Jaywalking

Sentence them to transportation.

Like ‘planking, ‘Tebowing’, and ‘the Harlem Shake’ before it, ‘jaywalking’ is sweeping the world, with international authorities unsure of how to deal with this life-threatening craze.

Police in New York City have responded with vigour, serving and protecting this 84-year-old man until he bled to stop him from possible injuries that might have been incurred crossing the road while not at an intersection.

 

Police brutality

Served and protected the hell out of this non-English speaking grandfather. Photo: G. N. Miller / NY Post

This diligent police work is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s crack down on incidents such as these by issuing 800% more fines for ‘jaywalking’, and testing street safety by ‘jaywalking’ himself in an official Mayoral capacity.

 

Mayor Bill de Blasio jaywalking

Taking his life into his own hands, so the citizens of New York City don’t have to. Photo: Kevin Fasick / New York Post.

However, with esteemed publications such as the New York Times brazenly flouting the directive and broadcasting a Savvy New Yorker’s Guide to Jaywalking – which promotes such dangerous advice as ‘be aware of your surroundings’ and ‘watch out for your kids’ – the culture of ‘jaywalking’ that Sydney police so fear is corrupting our youth and threatening our most vulnerable members of society is evidently becoming more and more entrenched.

On Wednesday 29 January NSW Police took decisive action, fining 770 people $67 each in a 90 minute period for the crime of crossing an intersection outside the times permitted by the walking man.

That’s $51,590 in fines issued, reader who moved onto the next sentence before opening their calculator.

‘Civil libertarians’ or ‘ordinary people’ might argue that if 770 people jaywalk per CBD intersection per 90 minute period during business hours, and the worst thing that happens to them is the issuing of a fine by the police, there’s no actual ‘jaywalking’ problem and the police should be doing better things with their time.

They would be wrong – even though there are, on average, less than 300 pedestrian-vehicle injuries per year, which somehow occur in spite of the 600,000 pedestrians safely using the CBD everyday.

With a massive nation-threatening 11 fatal collisions between vehicles and pedestrians in the Sydney CBD during the period 2004 – 2011, according to the NSW Centre for Road Safety, our streets are now roughly equivalent to a war zone and nothing should be a higher priority for the good men and women of the thin blue line.

Police remain concerned that some cultural forces, possibly from ‘the internet’, are trying to rebrand ‘jaywalking’ as a byword for ‘over-regulated, over-criminalised everyday behaviour, premised on actual but obscenely slight inherent risk’.

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