Everyone jaywalks. It’s an act of spontaneity in an otherwise scheduled life, an act of rebellion in a world of rules and regulations, an opportunity to follow one’s own lead for once. When the time is right, we jaunt across the street to grab a coffee or run over to the metro without a second thought.
In Singapore, jaywalking can get you arrested and tried. In New York and Milwaukee, jaywalking is considered a “quality of life” offense and carries hefty fines. And in social psychology circles, jaywalking is seen an act of social disobedience. But in Montreal, jaywalking is a social norm, and the city is renowned for the lack of enforcement.
Although approaches to and perceptions of jaywalking differ the world over, one thing is clear: everyone everywhere feels compelled to jaywalk at some point or another. The mystery is in the motives. We all know jaywalking is illegal and not all that smart, but somehow the seconds we shave off our day darting from sidewalk to sidewalk are worth the risk.
So, why do we do it? You’re welcome to draw your own conclusions after observing Maisonneuve’s Jaywalkers, Caught in the Act! video.
Our preliminary conclusion: Forget social psychology, these guys need psychiatric analysis.