The Hop, presented by Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, is here, and vehicles are already on the tracks for testing. While we know Milwaukeeans are eager to get a closer look at this new, modern transportation option, safety is our top priority. Here are a few tips to help you hop safely during this period of on-track testing:
The Hop streetcars share the road with other vehicles, with streetcar operators navigating the route just like any other car, truck or bus. They obey the same traffic rules and right of way. But, streetcars are obviously bigger than other vehicles on the road, so it’s critical that motorists exercise caution when driving along the streetcar route.
- When sharing a lane with a streetcar, be prepared to stop.
- If you’re driving in front of a streetcar, avoid braking suddenly unless there’s an emergency. Because of the vehicle’s size, they simply can’t brake as quickly as a smaller car can.
- Never make a right turn in front of a streetcar, and when turning left, always be on the lookout for streetcars as well as vehicles approaching from the opposite direction.
- When parking along the streetcar route, make sure your entire vehicle, including side mirrors, are completely inside the striping on the road. And be careful before opening your doors.
- Never park your vehicle on the tracks, even temporarily. Streetcars can’t move around parked vehicles.
- Streetcars are fairly quiet, so be sure to check your mirrors and be aware of your surroundings when driving on the streetcar route.
Bicyclists are sharing roads with streetcars all across the country, but there are a few important tips to help keep everyone safe.
- Track grooves are slightly wider than a typical bike tire, meaning bikes can potentially get stuck in the track way. Always avoid riding between the rails, where it can be difficult to maneuver in the tight space.
- When crossing the tracks, always do so in as close to a 90-degree angle as possible, and ride in an upright position as opposed to leaning into the turn.
- When making a left turn across streetcar tracks, do so in two stages. First, cross in the right lane through the intersection. Second, pivot to the left to cross the tracks perpendicularly at the next traffic signal.
- Streetcar tracks can become slippery when wet, so always exercise caution when biking near the tracks in rainy or snowy weather.
- Whenever possible, consider choosing an adjacent street to the streetcar route to ride on instead.
Pedestrians should be alert when walking along any city street, but especially so when on the streetcar route.
- Only cross streetcar tracks at designated crosswalks, and always wait for the appropriate signals.
- Never cross or run in front of an approaching streetcar, and never enter the trackway from between two parked vehicles.
- Streetcars are fairly quiet, so both LOOK and LISTEN before crossing the route.
- When walking along the streetcar route, take a break from your electronic devices. Remove your headphones so you can hear the streetcar’s warning bells, and don’t walk and text when crossing streetcar routes.
- Don’t climb poles or touch downed wires near the streetcar track. Always assume that all overhead power lines for the streetcar are hot.
It won’t be long before we can hop on board and start enjoying a more connected Milwaukee. But in the meantime, when you see The Hop testing on city streets, be cautious, be alert and be safe!