We're entering the winter season and the City of Stevens Point reminds everyone about a few things regarding the laws and guidelines for all forms of transportation. We should all be following the rules, but also use common sense and good judgement.
It’s getting dark earlier and it can be difficult for people to see everything going on around them. Making yourself more visible will help. Whenever possible, wear bright clothes and use lights when riding a bike, scooter, skateboard or when walking/running.
Use the crosswalks. If you need to cross in the middle of a block, pedestrians must yield to road vehicles.
Motor vehicle drivers need to be aware of their surroundings at all times. Avoid distractions like using cell phones or eating while driving. Turn your headlights on in poor visibility conditions. Always wear your seat belts and watch for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Vehicles in the roadway need to yield to people in the crosswalks.
On four lane roads like Business 51, if you see a vehicle stopped for a crosswalk, you shouldn’t pass them. You may see flashing yellow lights at some crosswalks to help motorists be more aware of the crossings.
Wisconsin statues relating to crosswalks:
346.25 Crossing at uncontrolled intersection or crosswalk,
(1) 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 or personal delivery device, or to a person riding a bicycle or electric personal assistive mobility device in a manner which is consistent with the safe use of the crosswalk by pedestrians, that is crossing the highway within a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
(2) No pedestrian, personal delivery device, bicyclist, or rider of an electric personal assistive mobility device may suddenly leave, and no personal delivery device operator may allow a personal delivery device to suddenly leave, a curb or other place of safety and walk, run, or ride into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is difficult for the operator of the vehicle to yield.
(3) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at an intersection or crosswalk to permit a pedestrian, personal delivery device, bicyclist, or rider of an electric personal assistive mobility device to cross the roadway, the operator of any other vehicle approaching from the rear may not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.
346.25 Crossing at place other than crosswalk. Every pedestrian, bicyclist, or rider of an electric personal assistive mobility device crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked or unmarked crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
Bicycles are considered "vehicles" on Wisconsin roadways. That means bicyclists must obey the rules of the road like any other vehicle and must be treated as equal users by all other vehicles.
This means bicyclists need to stop at stop signs, yield to pedestrians, and ride in the same direction as traffic.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has the following safety guidelines:
Go slower since the roads may be slippery and it takes more distance to stop.
Always be aware of your surroundings and avoid any distractions, even while walking.
Follow the laws, but use good judgement, too. Many accidents are caused by someone else not following the laws.
Be smart and safe!
Mayor Mike Wiza