Pedestrians and Drivers - Avoid the Multiple-Threat Crash

May 8, 2013

Now that Spring Weather is finally upon us there are many pedestrians and bicyclists out and about enjoying Madison's Neighborhoods and Business Districts.

It is very important for drivers and pedestrians to be alert to each other in traffic. The City has received complaints about "near miss" pedestrian involved crashes on our neighborhood business streets, for example Monroe St. and Williamson St.

Whenever you are driving, it is very important for you to understand that when a vehicle ahead of you slows or stops in traffic, you need to figure why that driver has slowed or stopped before passing. You cannot pass until you are certain that it is safe to do so, including checking to see if there might be a pedestrian crossing the street that you have to yield to, as well. It is not safe to assume that the driver has slowed or stopped to make a turn. Many pedestrian crashes occur when a pedestrian steps out from in front of a stopped vehicle as another driver is trying to pass. It is the responsibility of every driver to recognize this scenario and to watch for and yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

It is important for pedestrians to recognize the potential for crashes in these situations, and to walk defensively, as well. While drivers have the legal obligation to yield the right-of-way to you, it is better to be cautious than be involved in a crash. To cross the street at a crosswalk you should
• Watch on-coming traffic.
• Raise your arm and point or wave at drivers to get their attention and indicate your intent to cross the street.
• Make eye contact with approaching drivers.
• Get a clear signal back from the driver that you have been seen and the driver will yield to you.
• Proceed with caution when drivers slow to yield or stop for you. Never step suddenly into on-coming traffic.
• Where there is more than one of lane of traffic to cross, while sheltered by the first driver who stopped to yield to you, use this procedure to communicate, make eye contact and gain the cooperation of drivers in the next lane.
• Follow this procedure for each lane of traffic you need to cross.
• Thank drivers for yielding.

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  • Arthur Ross, Pedestrian & Bicycle Coordinator, 608-266-6225
  • Sgt. Eric Tripke, T.E.S.T., 608-209-8970