The City of Portsmouth VA has banned “fundraisers” from standing in an intersection or median asking motorists for money.

According to, the Portsmouth City Council on November 10 voted unanimously to make it illegal for solicitors to stand in the middle of major city thoroughfares, except in emergencies. The council determined that the activity constituted a public safety hazard. Sidewalk solicitation is still legal within city limits, however.

In the first seven months of 2009, the city experienced an estimated a tenfold increase in the number of solicitors at some of the Portsmouth’s busiest intersections, according to police.

The new ordinance is said to be the first step in Portsmouth’s effort to do away with street-side fundraising altogether. City officials are apparently planning to ask state legislators for permission to impose additional restrictions.

In August, Virginia Beach enacted a similar ordinance.

“Any activity going on in the median poses a threat to the public safety,” Virginia Beach police officer Margie Long said at the time. “It’s just happening more and more.”

The following clip highlights how the police go about enforcing a similar anti-panhandling ordinance that was recently implemented in Indianapolis:

Although these ordinances often get caught up in concerns about individual rights, measures of this nature are primarily designed to reduce the possibility of traffic disruptions, car accidents, or even pedestrians being run over in these busy intersections.

If you have been involved in a Virginia car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian accident, you need to know your legal rights. Do not hesitate to contact the personal injury lawyers at The Law Offices of Richard J. Serpe, P.C. for a no-obligation consultation, Toll Free 877-544-5323.


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