Summer Street Safety: What Pedestrians and Drivers Need To Know

School is out for the summer, which means more kids are out and about in town. It is also vacation season and the mild temps lead locals and visitors alike to take the streets and enjoy our beautiful lakeshore town.

One of the things we enjoy in Algoma is the lack of traffic signals. But this can pose a risk to pedestrians and drivers who may be unsure of who has the right-of-way.
It is important that both drivers and pedestrians know what their responsibilities are in each circumstance.

According to the State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation, drivers must:

  • Yield to pedestrians when crossing a sidewalk or entering an alley or driveway
  • -Yield to pedestrians who have started crossing at an intersection or crosswalk on a “walk” signal or a green light, if there is no walk signal
  • -Yield to pedestrians who are crossing the highway within a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection where there are no traffic lights or control signals 
  • -Not overtake and pass any vehicle that stops at an intersection or crosswalk to permit a pedestrian or bicyclist to cross the roadway safely

Pedestrians must:

  • -Yield to drivers when crossing a road where there is no intersection or crosswalk or where the pedestrian does not have a green or “walk” signal and where vehicles have a green signal 
  • -Not suddenly move into the path of a closely approaching vehicle that does not have sufficient time to yield for a pedestrian  
  • -Walk on and along the left side of a highway when not walking on a sidewalk. Note: This law does not apply to bicycles. Bicycles operate under the same laws as other legal vehicles on the road and should always stay on the right side of the road.

In a nutshell, 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. If a pedestrian, bicyclist, or rider of an electric personal assistive mobility device crosses a roadway at any point other than within a marked or unmarked crosswalk, they shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

That doesn’t mean pedestrians should just walk out into the road expecting that cars will stop.   Both pedestrians and drivers should:

  • -Pay attention!
  • -Make eye contact with each other if possible.
  • -Don’t text and drive or text and walk.
  • -Take extra care at night.

We want you to have a fun and safe summer here in Algoma!

For a complete explanation of rules and guidelines to help both pedestrians and drivers to maneuver safely around town this summer, visit the State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s website: http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/safety/education/pedestrian/rules.aspx

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