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Jay walking: when the long arm of the law becomes the strong arm

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Two Fridays ago my high school-aged son got fined for jaywalking in the late afternoon in Chinatown. I know this may not attract much sympathy when this past Friday a young boy was struck by a car and killed while walking to school. But it raises some issues the Pedestrian Council of Australia's Harold Scruby has been talking about for years when it comes to road safety: the need for a more consistent approach to policing jaywalking across the city and suburbs.

My son had just crossed Sussex Street at Hay Street on his way to Thai Kee IGA Supermarket in Market City to buy his favourite brand of Asian iced tea. He crossed, against the lights admittedly, but there were no cars, and he looked before he crossed. A policeman waiting on the footpath with an "on-body camera" stopped him and asked for his ID. There were a number of police in the vicinity – which contains some of Sydney's busiest intersections where cars, cyclists, pedestrians and light rail tram cars meet.

Jaywalking attracts a $76 fine.Credit:James Brickwood

My year 11 son pulled out his freshly minted learner driver permit, and the policeman took down all his........

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