For years, crosswalk laws have been ignored by most drivers. Not only do drivers speed through crosswalks without giving it a second thought, police do nothing to enforce the state law that obligates drivers to yield to pedestrians at all corners and crosswalks.
At many dangerous intersections, of which there are too many to count, pedestrians are afraid to cross the street because cars don’t even slow down at the clearly marked crosswalks. Of course, whether it’s marked or not, drivers should be yielding nonetheless.
Fortunately, the tide seems to be turning as Bay View Alderman Tony Zielinski is leading a local program with the goal of heightened pedestrian awareness. Zielinski’s initiative is catching on with many locals and the Milwaukee Police Department appears to be on board too.
The plan is for police officers to stake out various crosswalks in Bay View and issue written warnings to drivers who don’t stop. Last summer, Attorney Michael Hupy appeared on live TV and sent letters to all 19 metro Milwaukee mayors and police chiefs, imploring them to issue citations to pedestrian right-of-way violators.
To further educate the public, Hupy and Abraham, S.C. has distributed more than 20,000 “Yield To Pedestrians” bumper stickers and aired a “Save a Life. Yield To Pedestrians” PSA more than 5,000 times in the past year.
With pedestrian fatality rates increasing nationwide, it’s important that more police departments continue to crack down on pedestrian right-of-way violations. When cars cut in front of pedestrians in crosswalks, they’re not only violating state law, but also endangering lives.