[Cdt-l] Hitchhiking in Idaho -- followup

Mark Liechty mlaccs at mlaccs.com
Wed Jul 27 16:32:17 CDT 2011

On Jul 27, 2011, at 2:09 PM, Jonathan Ley wrote:

> Rights granted under the 1st amendment are not absolute (e.g. you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater… unless it’s on fire). Basically, you can’t infringe on the rights of others while exercising your rights. Standing on the side of a public road with your thumb out & maybe holding a sign while safely away from traffic doesn’t infringe on anyone’s rights to do anything. Some may argue that allowing such behavior can affect the environment of a community; that allowing unrestricted hitchhiking would degrade property values for example. That kind of argument might have merit in upholding zoning laws, but I don’t think it applies to impermanent actions like those of a hitchhiker.

My strong bet is that somewhere this has been challenged and upheld in the courts.   The government (people of the State) would argue that the hitchhikers are a distraction to drivers on the freeway and therefore putting innocents in harms way that could = death.  

Most hikers move a bit slower than the cars on the freeway and the cars need to have somewhere to go if there is an emergency in front of them.  Having people walking on the side of the road prevents this.  Plus while most hikers are attracted to "shiny things" those objects could become a distraction to drivers and, again, people die.

I am pretty sure that in CA you can hitchhike on the onramps but not on the freeway itself.   From time to time I pickup someone just hoping to build karma.  NEVER EVER would i consider pulling off the highway itself to do that.  I have seen what happens when the Highway Patrol ends up picking up people with a stick and a spoon.

Mark "Blankie" Liechty
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