Mayor reminds drivers, bicyclists and residents to be safe as winter approaches
By Mayor Mike Wiza
The City of Stevens Point would like to remind everyone about a few things as we enter the winter season regarding the laws and guidelines as they relate to all forms of transportation. We should all be following the rules, but also use common sense and good judgement.
Bright clothes and/or lights should be used whenever possible when riding a bike, scooter, skateboard or when walking/running. 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. 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 cell phones or eating while driving. Headlights should be on in poor visibility conditions. Always wear your seatbelts and watch for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Vehicles in the roadway need to yield to people in the crosswalks and 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,
346.24(1)(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.
346.24(2) (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.
346.24(3) (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.
346.25 346.25 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:
- Ride at least three feet from the curb or parked vehicles or debris in curb area and in a straight line. Don’t swerve in and out around parked vehicles.
- Always ride in the same direction as traffic.
- Sidewalk riding for bicyclists past the learning stage and being closely supervised by adults can be more dangerous than on the road, obeying traffic laws. It is also illegal unless the community has passed an ordinance specifically permitting sidewalk riding. This can be age-restricted, location-restricted or based on the type of property abutting the sidewalk.
- Obey all traffic laws.
- Be predictable! Let other users know where you intend to go and maintain an understood course.
-Remember to allow more time to travel during inclement weather.
-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.