Walking Safety

Failing to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks is one of the most commonly violated laws.

Walking is a wonderful way to get around, meet your neighbors, or get exercise. S&BA is working to make crossing the street easier by teaching people driving to follow the law and yield to people in crosswalks.

Many people who drive don’t realize that they have to yield to people walking in crosswalks.  People driving are required by law to yield the right of way to pedestrians in a marked and unmarked crosswalk. The illustration to the left shows 3 different types of crosswalks, two have pavement markings and one does not.

People driving should watch ahead for people walking towards the curb and into the crosswalk and slow or stop to allow them to cross the street.

Many people are timid pedestrians even though they have a legal right to cross the street.  People walking cannot legally dart into traffic, and must give motorists appropriate and safe distance to stop before stepping off the curb, but they need not wait forever.  A good rule of thumb for a safe stopping distance on a street with a speed limit of 30mph or lower is half a block.  Once there is a safe gap, a person should step off the curb and begin walking assertively across the street.

Pedestrians can even signal their intention to cross the street, but should remain vigilant in case the motorist does not stop.

 

SUBCHAPTER IV

RESPECTIVE RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF DRIVERS, PEDESTRIANS, BICYCLISTS, AND RIDERS OF ELECTRIC PERSONAL ASSISTIVE MOBILITY DEVICES
346.23  Crossing controlled intersection or crosswalk.
(1) At an intersection or crosswalk where traffic is controlled by traffic control signals or by a traffic officer, the operator of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian, or to a person who is riding a bicycle or electric personal assistive mobility device in a manner which is consistent with the safe use of the crosswalk by pedestrians, who has started to cross the highway on a green or “Walk” signal and in all other cases pedestrians, bicyclists, and riders of electric personal assistive mobility devices shall yield the right-of-way to vehicles lawfully proceeding directly ahead on a green signal. No operator of a vehicle proceeding ahead on a green signal may begin a turn at a controlled intersection or crosswalk when a pedestrian, bicyclist, or rider of an electric personal assistive mobility device crossing in the crosswalk on a green or “Walk” signal would be endangered or interfered with in any way. The rules stated in this subsection are modified at intersections or crosswalks on divided highways or highways provided with safety zones in the manner and to the extent stated in sub. (2).
 (2) At intersections or crosswalks on divided highways or highways provided with safety zones where traffic is controlled by traffic control signals or by a traffic officer, the operator of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian, bicyclist, or rider of an electric personal assistive mobility device who has started to cross the roadway either from the near curb or shoulder or from the center dividing strip or a safety zone with the green or “Walk” signal in the favor of the pedestrian, bicyclist, or rider of an electric personal assistive mobility device.
The rules for pedestrian right-of-way are different in this section and s. 346.24, In order for the motorist to have a duty to yield under s. 346.24, the pedestrian must be crossing within the crosswalk and not have entered in such a manner as to make it difficult for the motorist to yield. The requirements under this section, however, are that the pedestrian be crossing or have started to cross on a “Walk” light. The burden on the motorist is more absolute under this section than under s. 346.24. Schoenauer v. Wendinger, 49 Wis. 2d 415182 N.W.2d 441 (1971).
Pedestrians have the right-of-way on a green light only where there are no pedestrian control signals. City of Hartford v. Godfrey, 92 Wis. 2d 815286 N.W.2d 10 (Ct. App. 1979).
346.24  Crossing at uncontrolled intersection or crosswalk.
(1) At an intersection or crosswalk where traffic is not controlled by traffic control signals or by a traffic officer, the operator of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian, or to a person riding a bicycle or electric personal assistive mobility device in a manner which is consistent with the safe use of the crosswalk by pedestrians, who is crossing the highway within a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
 (2) No pedestrian, bicyclist, or rider of an electric personal assistive mobility device shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk, run, or ride into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is difficult for the operator of the vehicle to yield.
 (3) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at an intersection or crosswalk to permit a pedestrian, bicyclist, or rider of an electric personal assistive mobility device to cross the roadway, the operator of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.
History: 1985 a. 692001 a. 90.
The rules for pedestrian right-of-way are different in this section and s. 346.23, In order for the motorist to have a duty to yield under s. 346.23, the pedestrian must be crossing within the crosswalk and not have entered in such a manner as to make it difficult for the motorist to yield.
346.25  Crossing at place other than crosswalk. Every pedestrian, bicyclist, or rider of an electric personal assistive mobility device crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked or unmarked crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
History: 1985 a. 692001 a. 90.
Section 891.44 provides an exception to this section and the standard instruction is not to be given when the pedestrian is a child under 7. Thoreson v. Milwaukee & Suburban Transport Corp. 56 Wis. 2d 231201 N.W.2d 745 (1972).
This section does not apply to bicyclists operating on the roadway and only applies to bicyclists acting as pedestrians by operating on sidewalks and within crosswalks. Chernetski v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co. 183 Wis. 2d 68515 N.W.2d 283 (Ct. App. 1994)
346.26  Blind pedestrian on highway.
 (1) An operator of a vehicle shall stop the vehicle before approaching closer than 10 feet to a pedestrian who is carrying a cane or walking stick which is white in color or white trimmed with red and which is held in an extended or raised position or who is using a service animal, as defined in s. 106.52 (1) (fm), and shall take such precautions as may be necessary to avoid accident or injury to the pedestrian. The fact that the pedestrian may be violating any of the laws applicable to pedestrians does not relieve the operator of a vehicle from the duties imposed by this subsection.
 (2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to deprive any totally or partially blind person not carrying the white or the red and white cane or walking stick or not using a service animal, as defined in s. 106.52 (1) (fm), of the rights of other pedestrians crossing highways, nor shall the failure of such totally or partially blind pedestrian to carry such cane or walking stick or to use a service animal be evidence of any negligence.
 (3) No person who is not totally or partially blind shall carry or use on any street, highway or other public place any cane or walking stick which is white in color, or white trimmed with red.
346.27  Persons working on highway. The operator of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to persons engaged in maintenance or construction work on a highway whenever the operator is notified of their presence by flagmen or warning signs.
346.28  Pedestrians to walk on left side of highway; pedestrians, bicyclists, and riders of electric personal assistive mobility devices on sidewalks.
 (1) Any pedestrian traveling along and upon a highway other than upon a sidewalk shall travel on and along the left side of the highway and upon meeting a vehicle shall, if practicable, move to the extreme outer limit of the traveled portion of the highway.
 (2) Operators of vehicles shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, bicyclists, and riders of electric personal assistive mobility devices on sidewalks as required by s. 346.47.
346.29  When standing or loitering in roadway or highway prohibited.
(1) No person shall be on a roadway for the purpose of soliciting a ride from the operator of any vehicle other than a public passenger vehicle.
 (2) No person shall stand or loiter on any roadway other than in a safety zone if such act interferes with the lawful movement of traffic.
 (3) No person shall be on a bridge or approach thereto for the purpose of utilizing such bridge or approach for fishing or swimming when signs have been erected by the authority in charge of maintenance of the highway indicating that fishing or swimming off of such bridge or approach is prohibited.
346.30  Penalty for violating sections 346.23 to 346.29.
(1)
(a) Any pedestrian violating s. 346.23346.24 (2)346.25346.28 or 346.29 may be required to forfeit not less than $2 nor more than $20 for the first offense and not less than $10 nor more than $50 for the 2nd or subsequent conviction within a year.
(b)
1. Unless otherwise provided in subd. 2., any operator of a vehicle violating s. 346.23 or 346.28 may be required to forfeit not less than $20 nor more than $40 for the first offense and not less than $50 nor more than $100 for the 2nd or subsequent conviction within a year.
2. Any operator of a bicycle or electric personal assistive mobility device violating s. 346.23346.24 or 346.25 may be required to forfeit not more than $20.
 (2) Unless otherwise provided in sub. (1) (b) 2., any person violating s. 346.24 (1) or (3) may be required to forfeit not less than $30 nor more than $300.
 (3) Any person violating s. 346.26 may be required to forfeit not less than $25 nor more than $200 for the first offense and may be required to forfeit not less than $50 nor more than $500 for the 2nd or subsequent conviction within a year.
 (4) Any person violating s. 346.27 may be required to forfeit not less than $60 nor more than $600.