Did you yield to someone crossing the street today?
If yes, you followed the law and helped make Wisconsin streets safer. You also set an example for all motorists to follow, one that can save lives.
If not, you need to change your driving behavior and follow the Share & Be Aware message promoted by the Wisconsin Bike Fed in its first Wisconsin Walks Month (and throughout the year).
In many communities, people on foot find it dangerous and intimidating to cross streets at both marked and unmarked crosswalks. The regular and repeated failure to yield to pedestrians is a major reason.
It’s also deadly.
Nearly 30 percent of the people killed while walking in 2011, 2012 and 2013 were hit by people driving vehicles who failed to yield to them. That’s nearly 50 mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters killed because someone didn’t follow the law or safe safe driving practices.
“The analysis of crash reports involving pedestrians walking shows that most if not all of those injuries and fatalities would have been prevented if everyone involved followed the laws and basic road rules,” said Tom Held, the Bike Fed Share & Be Aware Media Ambassador. “We created Wisconsin Walks month to remind people that pedestrians should come first on the road, ahead of appointments, phone calls and text messages.”
The month of activities will also be dedicated to educating the public, both on the street and behind the wheel. Too many people have forgotten that people driving are required to yield to people crossing streets, in both marked and unmarked crosswalks.
STOP FOR YOUR NEIGHBOR
To make walking even safer, we need people across the state to get involved. In addition to yielding to people in crosswalks when driving, we encourage people to lead a local Stop For Your Neighbor crosswalk action.
How to Lead A Stop For Your Neighbor Crosswalk Action
1. Select a crosswalk (marked or unmarked) where people want to cross but people driving are not good at yielding (speed limit under 35 is ideal).
2. Download and print the Wisconsin Walks October sign and the Yield to Pedestrians sign below:
4. Get a friend or family member to help stage a mini crosswalk safety demonstration at a crosswalk near you. Ideally the crosswalk should be have pavement markings and should not be at an intersection controlled by traffic signals or stop signs. All you have to do is wait until the approaching cars have a safe stopping distance and walk across the street alone or with others while holding up the signs as a reminder to people driving by the law requires them to let people cross the street when they are in a crosswalk. Be assertive but also make sure that the people driving have time to stop and can see you.
4. Send us pictures and let us know how it went on the Share & Be Aware Facebook page.
“The fatality numbers and crash reports show that this basic fundamental of the road is forgotten far too often,” Held said.
In Wisconsin, 40 people were killed while walking through the first nine months of the year. The state is on pace to surpass the five-year average of 50 pedestrian deaths annually.
Share & Be Aware Ambassadors in Eau Claire, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, Platteville and the North Woods are hosting events, posting billboards, and working with the media to reverse that trend. Their goal is to educate the public about the need to look for and yield to people crossing the street, for Wisconsin Walks October and beyond.
We hope you will join in this effort in any of the following ways:
1.Yield for people trying to cross the street.
2. Attend/promote the events below
3. Work with your neighbors to improve pedestrian safety. Raise the issue of pedestrian safety at local meetings and encourage speeding enforcement.
5. Have your children participate in Fire Up Your Feet to get active and win money for their school!
6. Conduct a Stop For Your Neighbor crosswalk action
Wisconsin Walks October Event Posters