Skip to main content

Police Blotter

Downtown Pedestrian Safety

May 22, 2017 9:21 AM

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.



Image result for Median Pedestrian Signal


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: 



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




Image result for pedestrian signal




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:



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!  



Authored by


Officer Stephen MacKesey and Sergeant Harrison Zanders






 Email to a friend

Subscribe to Email List

Subscribe to the Police Blotter email list:

By participating on this list the Wisconsin Public Records Laws may subject your email address to disclosure to third parties. By selecting "Yes" you are requesting that we treat your email address that you have provided to this list as confidential and you are also stating that you would not participate in this service if the City is obligated to release your email address to such third party requesters.

Posts By Month

Posts By Category


#Back2SchoolSAFETYTIPS  #BattleOfTheBadges  #beneighborly  #Captain Brian Austin  #ClickItOrTicket  #CoffeeWithACop  #CommunitySurvey  #ConeWithACop  #DriveSoberOrGetPulledOver  #DrugTakeBack  #FindYOURBlueCalling  #GoodNeighborProject  #HelicopterParent  #lovemadison  #MPDMotorUnit  #NightlyLockup  #PrideMonth  #SafetyTips  #ScamAlert  #seesomethingsaysomething  #SouthSideSoccerSeries  #VisionZeroMadison  #WeAreThe28  #westdistrictstrategicplan  #YouCanBeYOU  Amigos en Azul  Bigs In Blue  Bike Rides  Black Youth Academy  Budget Process  Capt. Cory Nelson  Captain Ackeret  Captain Beckett  Captain Freedman  Captain Patton  Central District  Ceremonies  Chief Barnes  Citizen Recognition  Coffee with a Cop  Community Academy  Community Awards  Community Events  Community Forums  Community Gang Outreach  Community Outreach  Community Partnership  Community Policing  Community Survey  CORE  CRASE  Crime Prevention  Crime Stoppers  Crossing Guards  Cyber Detective Camp  Cyber Safety  Damaged Property  Downtown Safety  Driving Safely  East District  East High School  Edgewood College  Education Resource Officer  Emily Samson  Events  Explorers Post  Facebook  Fireside Five-Oh  Fireside Five-Oh  Good Neighbor Project  Guerrilla Grillers  Guerrilla Grillers  homeless  Investigations  Join the Team  K9  LaFollette High School  LeadsOnline  Lieutenant Lori Beth Chalecki  Lieutenant Patterson  Madison Area Addiction Recovery Initiative (MAARI)  Madison Area Recovery Initiative (MARI)  Madison Community Policing Foundation  Madison Parks  Madison Schools  MedDrop Box  Midtown District  Midtown Strategic Plan  MMSD  Mobile Device Safety  Mounted Patrol  MPD Awards Ceremony  National Night Out  Neighborhood Police Officers  Neighborhood Watch  New Recruits  North District  North District  Pawn Shops  Pedestrian Safety  Personal Safety  Phishing Scams  Police Biking  Property Crimes  Red Cross Blood Drive  Registered Sex Offender  Residential Burglaries  Road Home  Road Home  Robberies  Safe Communities  Safety in the Home  Safety Saturday  Secondhand Business  Self Report Unit  Sex Offender Information Bulletin  Shooting  Shout Out  Social Media  Solicitor Permits  South District  Southwest Safety Initiative  Spanish  Special Olympics  State St  Straubel  Straubel  SWAT  Torch Run  Traffic Concerns  Traffic Enforcement Safety Team (TEST)  Twitter  UW-Madison  Weapons Offenses  West Community Academy  West District  Youth Programs  Zero in Wisconsin