Q. When pedestrians are crossing busy streets with islands or medians in the middle, do they have the right of way to cross both sections of the street at once?
A. If there is a median but no traffic signal at an intersection, drivers only need to yield to pedestrians on their half of the street, said Arthur Ross, pedestrian and bicycle coordinator for the city of Madison.
But while drivers are required to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists in crosswalks, those crossing the street also have a responsibility not to interfere with the flow of traffic, according to a state statute.
At a crosswalk where traffic is not controlled by a signal or traffic officer, drivers shall yield “in a manner which is consistent with the safe use of the crosswalk by pedestrians,” according to state statute 346.24(1). A driver who fails to do so could get a $240 ticket in municipal court, according to the Madison Police Department.
Crossing unsafely can earn pedestrians tickets as well. State statute 346.24(2) says no pedestrian or bicyclist “shall 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.” Failure to yield to a vehicle can result in a $63.60 ticket in municipal court for a pedestrian.
— Devin Rose