In addition to controlling everything involved with vehicles, the state also has many regulations related to walking:
For example, if there is a sidewalk, it is illegal for you to choose to walk in the street instead of on that sidewalk:
Section 265:39 Pedestrians on Roadway. –
I. Where sidewalks are provided it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent roadway.
II. Where a sidewalk is not available, any pedestrian walking along and upon a way shall walk only on a shoulder, as far as practicable from the edge of the roadway. Where neither a sidewalk nor a shoulder is available, any pedestrian walking along and upon a way shall walk as near as practicable to an outside edge of the roadway, and if on a two-way roadway, shall walk only on the left side of the roadway.
Notice how many other conditions they felt the need to regulate: If no sidewalk, you must stay on the shoulder. If no shoulder, you must stay on the left side of the road. Most people break these laws all the time without thinking about it. Of course, cops are not out actively looking to bust people for this law; instead, this a tool they use when they want to harass individuals they do not like and can’t find anything else to charge them for.
We all know you can get a ticket for “running a red light” with your car. But did you know that you can get a ticket for “walking a red light”, and even a yellow-light?
Section 265:10 Traffic Control Signal Legend. –
II. Steady Yellow Indication.
(b) Pedestrians facing a steady circular yellow or yellow arrow signal, unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian control signal as provided in RSA 265:11, are thereby advised that there is insufficient time to cross the roadway before a red indication is shown and no pedestrian shall then start to cross the roadway.
III. Steady Red Indication.
(c) Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian control signal as provided in RSA 265:11, pedestrians facing a steady circular red signal alone shall not enter the roadway.
(e) Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian signal, pedestrians facing a steady red arrow signal indication shall not enter the roadway.
If there is a “pedestrian control signal”, you better obey it, even if there are no cars in sight. Just stand there until the machine tells you your desired behavior is acceptable:
Section 265:11 Pedestrian Control Signals. – Whenever special pedestrian-control signals exhibiting the words “Walk” or “Don’t Walk” are in place such signals shall indicate as follows:
II. Don’t Walk–No pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of such signals whether steady or flashing, but any pedestrian who has partially completed his crossing on the “Walk” signal shall proceed to a sidewalk or safety island.
Jaywalking is also a ticketable offense in New Hampshire, both for not using crosswalks in areas with pedestrian signals, and for crossing any intersection diagonally:
Section 265:36 Crossing at Other Than Crosswalks. –
III. Between adjacent intersections at which traffic control signals are in operation pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.
IV. No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by traffic control devices; and, when authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the official traffic control devices pertaining to such crossing movements.
And don’t forget to walk on the right hand side of that crosswalk! Walking in the center can also get you a ticket:
Section 265:38 Pedestrians to Use Right Half of Crosswalks. – Pedestrians shall move, whenever practicable upon the right half of crosswalks.
I would argue that the only victim who will generally be hurt by unsafe walking is the walker himself. One may counter with the argument that these laws exist to protect drivers from accidents caused by unsafe pedestrians. However, if your unsafe behavior causes an accident you can be already be held liable for that; tacking on a $50 fine for not using a crosswalk does nothing to help those involved in a vehicle-pedestrian accident, it only enriches the state.