Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Too many Janesville and Wisconsin drivers ignore pedestrians

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Greg Peck
Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I've blogged about this topic previously, but it bears repeating. State law requires motorists to yield to pedestrians that are in crosswalks—even if those crosswalks aren't painted between corners where sidewalks exist.

Janesville is far from pedestrian-friendly. I can walk across Milwaukee Street at Parker Place in Janesville and be ignored by drivers every day. Even police officers driving squad cars have ignored me while I stand waiting at either end of the crosswalk. Sure, when traffic is barreling down the Milwaukee Street hill, a motorist can be reluctant to stop, fearing some other driver in a hurry or too busy texting or talking on a cellphone won't notice in time to stop. When driving, I've been in that position. And when walking, I've seen near rear-end accidents when motorists have stopped on that hill.

Maybe the problem is the speed people use on that one-way street (or maybe it really should revert to two-way traffic, as some residents advocate).

I heard the other day that Madison police were cracking down on motorists who ignored pedestrians in our Capitol city. Maybe Janesville police could do likewise and pad our city coffers.

Besides, look at the news in recent days:

-- Milwaukee police have arrested a man suspected in an Aug. 11 hit-and-run accident that killed a 32-year-old woman who had stepped into an unmarked crosswalk.

-- A 50-year-old woman hit while using a crosswalk on Madison's East Washington Avenue during broad daylight Aug. 8 died of her injuries Aug. 17.

-- A 76-year-old woman died Aug. 19 after being hit by a vehicle in a crosswalk in Stoughton.

So let's yield to pedestrians whenever possible. It's the law. Besides, who would want such a tragedy on his or her conscience?

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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