Keep pedestrian safety in mind this fall
DATE: November 6, 2023
TO: Local Media Outlets
FROM: Sarah Weihert, Public Relations Executive Assistant
RE: Keep pedestrian safety in mind this fall
The City of Fort Atkinson reminds motorists to be aware of pedestrians as daylight hours decrease this fall.
“With less daylight hours this time of year we hear about a lot of near misses when it comes to vehicles stopping for pedestrians at the City’s various marked cross walks,” said Andy Selle, Director of Public Works.
Motorists are reminded when pedestrians are crossing to wait until the person is fully across the road to continue traveling.
“Often the car stopped waiting for a pedestrian to cross is what oncoming traffic in the other lane notices, not the pedestrian crossing, it’s important to wait for the person to fully cross the street before continuing to travel,” Selle said.
The number of pedestrians killed in crashes in Wisconsin rose 44% last year, from 50 deaths in 2021 to 72 in 2022. Preliminary data shows improvement in the number of pedestrian-involved crashes this year, but fatalities remain high. So far in 2023, 49 people were killed in 880 pedestrian-involved crashes, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
Drivers must be extra conscious of pedestrian safety this time of year. When Daylight Saving Time ends, drivers will spend more time traveling in the dark, when pedestrians are difficult to see. Always keep a close eye on the road.
State laws aim to keep all road users safe by creating a protected space to cross streets. Drivers must yield to pedestrians in a sidewalk, alley, or driveway and when pedestrians have started crossing the street.
Drivers are asked to consider the following safety recommendations:
- Put the phone down to avoid distractions
- Obey all posted signs and speed limits; driving a few miles over the speed limit can be the difference between life and death for a pedestrian
- Do not block crosswalks when stopping at intersections
- Always drive sober.
Pedestrians are required to yield to drivers when crossing a road where there is no intersection, crosswalk or walk signal. They should not suddenly move into the path of a closely approaching vehicle that does not have time to yield.
Pedestrians can take additional steps to keep themselves safe, too. Always:
- Follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals
- Use sidewalks whenever available; if there is no sidewalk, travel facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible
- Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections; if a crosswalk is not available, find a well-lit area with a clear view of traffic and wait for a gap that allows enough time to cross safely
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways or backing up in parking lots
- Take extra care at night and at dusk when chances of injury increase; wear reflective clothing or lights to be more visible.
Above, a pedestrian is seen using the crosswalk to cross Sherman Avenue at the Glacial River Trail. Motorists are reminded when pedestrians are crossing to wait until the person is fully across the road to continue traveling.