The term “jaywalking” originated here in KC when it was first published in the Kansas City Star. BikeWalkKC worked to decriminalize the simple acts of walking and biking, especially for Black and Brown people at the greatest risk of excessive stops and over-policing. This work was necessary to realize our vision of a Greater Kansas City where everyone moves through the city and its public spaces equitably, safely, comfortably, and sustainably.
Kansas City, Missouri
In 2021 we heeded Mayor Lucas’ call to repeal city laws and policies that subject Black and Brown people to over-policing and to police violence. We found several statutes that criminalized walking and biking, and developed a proposal to fix the problems.
A prime example is a law on the books in KCMO which allowed police to stop someone with dirty bicycle or car tires. This type of infraction has no connection to safety, but provides an arbitrary reason to stop someone on the street.
BikeWalkKC assembled a coalition of advocates and community organizations to successfully campaign for the decriminalization of walking and biking, culminating with a unanimous City Council vote in May of 2021.
- Read the legislation
- See our Frequently Asked Questions
- Read a legal memo from BikeWalkKC board member Ruth Anne French-Hodson
Our campaign was successful thanks to the strong support of many individual advocates and community organizations:
- Major Taylor Cycling Club of Kansas City
- Environment Missouri
- Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council
- Black Men Run KC
- Healing House KC
- Health Forward Foundation
- Riff Raff
- Thomas Hart Benton Group of Missouri Chapter of Sierra Club
- KC 4 Safe Streets
- Marlborough Community Coalition
- Bluehills Neighborhood Association
- West Plaza Neighborhood Association
- The Whole Person
- Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance
- KC Tenants
- Midwest Innocence Project
- KC Healthy Kids
- Paseo West Neighborhood Association
- Hoxie Collective
While the victory in KCMO was a big step forward, we have a lot of work to do in the rest of the metro. It will be especially hard in Kansas, where we will have to change state law that currently does not allow for local cities to opt out of jaywalking and similar laws.
Share your story
Have you experienced “walking while Black” or any other type of over-policing or harassment while walking or biking? Let us know what happened (confidentially, if desired) so we can help policy makers understand how pervasive this problem is in our community. We especially need to hear about incidents outside of KCMO.
Contact email@example.com and we can discuss making a difference in your community.
Jaywalking – Arrested Mobility, 2022
‘I just want to ride my bike:’ An honest talk about racial bias in transportation – Rocky Mountain PBS, 2021
How to Take on Harmful Jaywalking Laws – America Walks, 2021
Advocacy is a Team Sport – TransLōc, 2021
Jaywalking has been erased from KC–the place where ther term was born – The Pitch KC, 2021
KC moves hard to reclaim power over our streets – The Pitch KC, 2021
KC police can ticket you for dirty tires. Mayor Lucas is right to challenge that – The Kansas City Star, 2021
9 Reasons to Eliminate Jaywalking Laws Now – Bloomberg CityLab, 2020
Black Cyclists Are Stopped More Often Than Whites, Police Data Shows – Bicycling Magazine, 2020
NYPD’s Racial Bias in ‘Jaywalking’ Tickets Continues into 2020 – Streetsblog NYC, 2020
The Toxic Intersection of Racism and Public Space – Bloomberg CityLab, 2020
The US’s jaywalking laws target people of colour. They should be abolished – The Guardian, 2020
“Walking While Black” – ProPublica and the Florida Times-Union, 2017