MARSHFIELD, WI (OnFocus) – Passing farm machinery in a no-passing zone has been against state law since 2014. Yet, Wisconsin’s rural roadways are still dangerous for the state’s farmers who share the road with motorists.
As harvest season approaches, now, more than ever, it is important to keep farmers’ safety in mind when on the roadways. Typically, farmers will travel less than a mile to get from field to field or field to barn.
Carrie Bernitt, daughter to the owner of Bernitt’s Farms, said her family has had issues with being passed going over hills and other areas but thinks maybe people just don’t know the law.
“I don’t know if people don’t realize it but it is against the law to pass tractors in no passing zones,” Bernitt said. “I try to share that every summer on Facebook when planting season comes around.”
Bernitt said she wishes people who are itching to get past farmers would practice patience and allow the farmers to get where they are going safely.
“Start seeing farmers and sit back and relax and enjoy the ride,” Bernitt said. “Wait for us to get off the road. Most of us are within a mile from farm to property so it’s not a long distance.”
Here’s what the law says:
346.09: Limitations on overtaking on left or driving on left side of roadway
(a) Except as provided in par. (b), the operator of a vehicle shall not drive on the left side of the center of a roadway on any portion thereof which has been designated a no-passing zone, either by signs or by a yellow unbroken line on the pavement on the right-hand side of and adjacent to the center line of the roadway, provided such signs or lines would be clearly visible to an ordinarily observant person.
(b) The operator of a vehicle may drive on the left side of the center of a roadway on any portion thereof which has been designated a no-passing zone, as described in par. (a), to overtake and pass, with care, any vehicle, except an implement of husbandry or agricultural commercial motor vehicle, traveling at a speed less than half of the applicable speed limit at the place of passing.
Along with tractors, horse and buggies have been a talking point when it comes to road safety involving slow-moving vehicles. Earlier this year, a horse-and-buggy crash sent one person to the hospital.
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