UWPD conducts pedestrian safety sting

UWPD conducts pedestrian safety sting

University of Wisconsin-Madison police officers were out and about Tuesday with a new effort to enforce pedestrian safety laws.

Ducks, or decoy pedestrians, have been walking along University Avenue with the goal of educating drivers about yielding for students and others walking along the busy thoroughfare.

“It’s nerve wracking to say the least,” said Officer Nikki Zautner, Tuesday’s dedicated decoy. “We know when people are going faster than the speed limit, and those are the ones that are really scary. It’s close. I’m hesitant to even step out.”

In previous weeks, UWPD had been pulling over drivers to hand out warnings and information on pedestrian safety.

“At this intersection a week ago, we had 42 traffic stops for failure to yield to pedestrians, and our officer was wearing a dayglo green vest,” Officer John Deering said.

This week, that number is significantly lower. By the end of Tuesday, officers issued 18 citations.

Some drivers, though, aren’t happy with their tickets. Police say the goal isn’t to trick anyone, it’s too keep people safe.

Generally if somebody’s hit by a car they’re not OK,” Deering said. “Everybody feels like they’re the more important person here. The pedestrians, they have more to lose.”

UWPD’s operation continues through the week.