City of Madison Police Department Central District Presents:
"A Walk on the Wild Side"
Safety Tips for Downtown Madison vehicles and pedestrians
As we all look forward to warmer weather, outdoor activities, and the multiple markets, fairs, as well as festivals that make downtown Madison such a special place, we thought it would be a good time to point out a few ways we can all make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience. With so many attractions to distract or occupy our attention, it is always good to be aware of your surroundings. This is particularly critical in the instances where vehicles and pedestrians "intersect."
Two common conflicts that we encounter involve the crossing of pedestrians at both controlled and uncontrolled intersections. These issues consistently lead to citizen complaints, accidents, or even worse, casualties. In an effort to help provide a safe and enjoyable downtown experience for both the motoring public and our scores of pedestrians enjoying the area and activities, we have chosen to highlight two of these particular situations.
The first example is the need for vehicles to yield to pedestrians who are attempting to cross intersections that are marked "crosswalk areas". These would include any street intersections that are not controlled by traffic signals (red, yellow, green traffic lights), that control vehicular movement.
In areas without the traffic control lights there can often be confusion as to who has the right of way, and how does a driver know when they need to yield to the pedestrian. The law states that drivers must yield to any pedestrian who has "signaled" the intent to cross by stepping into the roadway. Once the pedestrian has stepped into the threshold of the roadway, vehicles in all lanes should stop to allow the pedestrian to safely complete crossing the roadway.
In the situation where the pedestrian has stepped into the roadway a driver failing to yield the right away is in violation of State Statue 346.24(1) which states:
FAILURE TO YIELD TO
PEDESTRIAN / BICYCLIST (Uncontrolled Intersection Or Crosswalk) Operator of a vehicle shall yield to a pedestrian / bicyclist who is crossing the highway within a marked or unmarked crosswalk. FINE OF $250.00 4 points
The second example is where the vehicle has the right of way and the pedestrian has the responsibility to yield to traffic. These situations are where the traffic at an intersection is controlled by traffic signals that direct the flow of both vehicles and pedestrians.
In these cases the familiar STOP HAND or WALKING FIGURE direct pedestrians as to when it is safe to cross and when they must yield to the vehicular traffic. These will signal the pedestrian with a white colored figure to indicate the traffic has been stopped and it is safe to cross. As the signal lights will be changing the RED countdown clock will signal the remaining time left before crossing is prohibited. The Red Hand will then flash and then be a steady glow to signal no pedestrian crossing is permitted. Pedestrians are allowed to finish crossing a street if the signal had been the white figure when they entered the intersection.
In addition to being very dangerous, a pedestrian crossing in violation of the control signals is in violation of State Statue 346.25 which states:
FAILURE TO YIELD TO VEHICLE (By Pedestrian)
If Not Using A Pedestrian Tunnel Or Overhead Crossing When Provided a pedestrian shall yield right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway. FINE $73.60 0 points
In conclusion, if both pedestrians and drivers work to be more aware of our surroundings and rights and responsibilities, we can make downtown Madison a safer and more enjoyable space for all of us to share!
Officer Stephen MacKesey and Sergeant Harrison Zanders