Street Etiquette

Jaywalking appears to come from Kansas (at least that’s where we find the first written evidence of use).  Initially people used the term”jay-driver,” to refer to a driver of carriages or vehicles who drove on the wrong side of the road. But then in The Kansas City Star, there is a line about pedestrians walking along the left, rather than the right side of the street, by noting that walking on the sidewalk would be easier if the pedestrians would  “. . . . . . . .  keep to the right and avoid collisions and being called a ‘jay walker.’” It seems the term really referred to proper walking technique on city streets and I am not sure if anyone really knows why it morphed into a reference to crossing the street in violation of the traffic laws.  That said, there are sources that assert the term “jay” was an old slang word for “foolish person.” We may never know for sure, but don’t jaywalk!