A pedestrian safety initiative will kick off on the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh campus Monday, Feb. 4.
The four-week-long initiative is aimed at creating a culture of respect between pedestrians and drivers, University Police Captain Chris Tarmann said. Pedestrians are one of the most at-risk groups of roadway users, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“We observe many pedestrians on campus acting as if they have the right-of-way regardless of what’s going on around them (vehicles, pedestrian signals, other pedestrians, etc.),” Tarmann said. “We need to create awareness for the laws and change the culture so we can enhance the safety of our pedestrian traffic throughout campus.”
With that goal in mind, enforcement of pedestrian laws will be enhanced.
“We hope to educate our community members about the laws, improve awareness for our pedestrians around campus and increase the overall safety of our campus community,” Tarmann said.
To educate the campus community, University Police have participated in a variety of outreach efforts to communicate laws about control signals, crossing at intersections or crosswalks and crossing streets in areas other than crosswalks. Violations of Wisconsin crosswalk laws start at $150 and can rise to more than $300. On first violation, UW Oshkosh Police will issue warnings and educational information cards.
University Police suggest community members—both vehicle operators and pedestrians—pay particular attention to crosswalk signage, especially along High Avenue and Algoma Boulevard, which are the two main thoroughfares traveled between downtown and the highway. Both are two-lane, one-way, high-traffic streets with multiple pedestrian crossing paths.
“At any given moment throughout the day a pedestrian is likely the driver of a vehicle and the driver of a vehicle is likely a pedestrian. The roads through campus are important for the City of Oshkosh and the pedestrians at UW Oshkosh are important to the community, so we have a duty on both sides of this initiative to respect each other because we need each other and we need to keep each other safe,” Tarmann said.
For more information on state laws and the campus safety initiative, visit the Pedestrian and Traffic Safety website.