For those not familiar with this term, such as many people outside of the United States, jaywalking means a pedestrian crosses a street without regard to traffic regulations.
For instance, depending on where one lives, it may be against the
law to cross a street where there is a crosswalk nearby, but the
person chooses not to use it. Alternatively even at a crosswalk, it
is often illegal to cross if there is a “Don’t Walk” signal
Contrary to popular belief, the term jaywalking does not derive from
the shape of the letter J. It comes from the fact that “Jay” used to
be a generic term for someone who was dull, rube, unsophisticated,
poor, or a simpleton.
To Jaywalk was to be stupid by crossing the street in an unsafe
place or way, or some person visiting the city who was not familiar
with the rules of the road for pedestrians in an urban environment.
As stated in the January 25, 1937 New York Times, “In many streets
like Oxford Street, for instance, the jaywalker wanders complacently
in the very middle of the roadway as if it was a country lane.”