Tell All: Madison drivers are trying to kill me

Is there any way to stop their reckless behavior?

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If you're a "good" driver, of course you don't see the problem

Already we've got a few comments along the lines of "I'm a good driver so clearly there isn't a problem"--well, maybe you're just not seeing all the bad behavior by the other drivers on the road... I regularly walk around my west side neighborhood as well as downtown and am constantly baffled by the sheer recklessness and aggressiveness of drivers in this city. I tend to be diligent about following the law in regard to crossings and right of way (except where necessity dictates otherwise--more on that in a sec...), so it's not like I'm a scofflaw always darting out in front of cars.

I frequently encounter drivers running lights or making turns without yielding--almost on an at least once-a-day basis. At the closest crosswalk to my home, I constantly encounter drivers making left turns at me in the crosswalk, often without even signaling... or even barely slowing down before making their turn. It has been so bad at that intersection in recent months that now I've actually started opting to cross further up the street (*not* in a crosswalk, as its a very long block before the next crosswalk) simply to have enough lead time between cars to avoid getting hit. It's pretty bad when drivers are so incompetent that they force you to break the law to stay safe.

*Several times* while walking downtown I've been crossing with the right of way and actually had a driver turn at me, stop short in the intersection and *get out of their car* to berate me for being in the way... in one of those incidents, a driver actually grabbed a tire iron and charged at me--only backing off when he must have realized beating the crap out of someone in a busy intersection wasn't a wise idea (got his plate... never heard back from the police). The first time I encountered an incident like that was shocking enough, but to have it happen multiple times over the years here in Madison is just crazy. I don't know if I'm just unlucky or if attacking pedestrians is some perversely normal thing in this town.

I often travel to various cities across the country and several other corners of the world and I have yet to see so many examples of such commonly egregious driver behavior toward pedestrians (or cyclists). Oddly even in some very car-oriented cities like LA or Seattle, I've actually found drivers way more courteous and conscientious toward pedestrians than here. Maybe its something to do with driver education? or regional culture? Who knows. All I know is every time I cross the street here, I feel endangered. And I'm an able-bodied, fast walker... I really fear for the elderly, disabled, and kids in this town who have to struggle to cross our streets.

Jon M. 42 days ago

Get Into the Bike Path System for Safety

I moved from Milwaukee, in part, because as a long time city biker, I found it to be too dangerous. Madison is dangerous as well, whether biking, walking or driving (though the consequences less grave). It is a population concentrated into a very small are, and many guests to the city, who are understandably lost (it is a very confusing city to negotiate, at times). Therefore, I use extreme caution when on the streets, and quickly find my way into the bike path system that is SO outstanding here, and then relax and enjoy the ride.

Elizabeth Crawford 42 days ago

I Want to Call B*** but...

I drive in Madison. I don't run down pedestrians or bicyclists. If I see them I will give them the right of way. So it seems to me that the article is way off, but maybe that's just because I'm not on that end of things. Frankly I think more information is needed. If this problem occurs so frequently, and is such a problem, the writer should gather some video evidence (maybe with a smartphone), and display it on some sort of public format (say "youtube" for example).

For now, I will walk and pedal around and see if I can gather such evidence. We'll see how it goes...I'll report back in 30 days if I'm still alive.

Gideon 43 days ago

What City do you live in?

I've never seen a city of drivers so concerned about pedestrian well-being. I've seen people stop for pedestrians 50 yards away from the crosswalk. I've seen drivers with right of way slam on their brakes, needing up the flow traffic and nearly causing a chain of fender benders just because someone looked like they wanted to walk across the street. No one ever honks at pedestrians who are violating right of way, note even to remind them that 4000 pounds of steel with turn them into a pink paste before they have time to look concerned.

Perhaps visit another city and see just how pedestrian friendly Madison actually is.

John Smith 43 days ago

I honk...

I agree with John. I honk at pedestrians, because death. Every time a pedestrain runs across the street without a crosswalk, I will honk.

Sarah 43 days ago

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