Pedestrian safety becomes big issue in Madison

Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014 --- 5:00pm

So you're driving around Madison and a pedestrian steps in the crosswalk. Do you stop or keep going? Madison Police are finding more and more are taking option two.

"A lot of people aren't aware of the pedestrian crosswalk laws” says Sgt. Rahim Rahaman.

Officers are trying to change that through a program called “Operation Duck.”

An officer will dress in regular clothes, step into the crosswalk, and walk across the street or at least try to.

Thursday morning officers were at the intersection of Regent and Brooks. NBC 15 watched as car after car drove past the officer crossing the street. Then minutes later, the same thing would happen, prompting another officer to quickly pull the vehicle over and the driver is slapped with an over $200 fine.

"Whenever the pedestrian goes up to the crosswalk, once they are in the crosswalk or show commitment, meaning they step into the roadway, they have the rights of that intersection” says Rahaman. The same goes for bicyclists and those in wheelchairs.

Now of course there are a few exceptions. A pedestrian is at fault when they don't safely cross. Sudden pedestrian movement would be a good example.

Officers say it's less about issuing tickets and more about educating the public.

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