Pedestrians risk close calls when drivers ignore law

CREATED Nov 6, 2013 - UPDATED: Nov 6, 2013

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MILWAUKEE -- Walking across the street should not involve risking your life, but time and again drivers put pedestrians in danger.

They ignore a state law that says it is the job of drivers to come to a complete stop whenever a pedestrian is in a crosswalk.
Speedbusters witnessed this problem firsthand over the last couple months. We partnered with Milwaukee Police and the Wisconsin Bike Federation to show how many drivers just can't get it right.
Jessica Binder played the role of a pedestrian in our experiment, a role she is used to as an avid cyclist and policy director at the Bike Federation.
She believes the number of drivers who understand and follow the crosswalk law is very low.
"I would say five percent of drivers yield to people walking," Binder said.
On three different Wednesdays in September and October, Binder walked back and forth across Kenwood Blvd. on the UW-Milwaukee campus.
To start, drivers seemed to get the message and heed the fluorescent green signs in the middle of the street. But things changed quickly.
With driver after driver failing to hit the breaks for a young lady trying to cross the street.
Milwaukee Police officer Michael Bachmann and his partners seized on this as a teaching opportunity, giving drivers a warning or a ticket, plus a copy of the state law they just broke.
Police aren't doing this simply because we asked, in the last five years Milwaukee has ticketed 170 drivers for failing to stop at a crosswalk.
But Bachmann knows it happens many times that amount.
"Depending on what area you're in, you could see a lot of this a lot of times," he said.
In the three hours we spent with police and our bait pedestrian 12 drivers needed a talking to.
A dozen drivers who were in too big a hurry to see the giant signs urging them to hit the breaks.
A dozen drivers who make the streets we all walk a little more dangerous, because they don't know the law is not on their side.