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You see it all the time, people standing under big yellow pedestrian signs, in front of clearly marked cross walks, just watching cars speed by. The law of the state of Minnesota requires that cars yield to these people:

169.21 Pedestrian. Subd. 2. Rights in absence of signal.
(a) Where traffic-control signals are not in place or in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall stop to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk. The driver must remain stopped until the pedestrian has passed the lane in which the vehicle is stopped.

The signs are even extra easy to understand:

Look a person should be crossing!

But still people rush on by. This is the same as running stop signs, red lights or yield signs. Luckily pedestrians are smart enough to know that people routinely break the law.

The Minnesota Safety Council gives us a handy refresher on the law:

The Minnesota Crosswalk Law: Key Elements

Where traffic control signals are not in place or in operation, a driver must stop for a pedestrian crossing within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk. A vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk can proceed once the pedestrian has completely crossed the lane in front of the stopped vehicle.

A pedestrian must not enter a crosswalk if a vehicle is approaching. There is no defined distance that a pedestrian must abide by before entering the crosswalk, but common sense should prevail. The law states: "No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield."

When a vehicle is stopped at an intersection to allow pedestrians to cross the roadway, drivers of other vehicles approaching from the rear must not pass the other vehicle.

It’s unlawful for the driver of a motor vehicle to proceed through a group of school children crossing a street or highway, or past a member of a school safety patrol or adult crossing guard who is directing children across the roadway and who is holding an official signal in the stop position.

Failure to obey the law is a misdemeanor. A second violation within one year is a gross misdemeanor.

Cities can designate crosswalks for longer illumination of "Walk" "Don’t Walk" signal lights. Intersections where there is a high concentration of pedestrians, senior citizens, school children, etc., qualify for such designation. District councils, community clubs, or other organizations can petition their city councils to designate these crosswalks.

There is also a concern when a car does lawfully stop and another car charges up on them, flies around to pass, or starts yelling and flipping the "crazy law abider" off. It amazes me. Does that crazy person yell at people for stopping at red lights?

I remember a number of years back when one of the legislators who passed the law stood out behind the capitol in the crosswalk and counted cars as they passed. It may be time that the police did more to enforce this often ignored law.


  1. Gravatar for Bigdaddy

    Its funny that many people usually violate these crosswalk signs everywhere. Very seldom actually abide but will get a crazy yell at the end by fellow drivers. People now a days are too lazy to abide laws in general. That's what i observed most of the time especially with the traffic signs.

  2. It may be lazy, ignorance, or they simply don't care. Hopefully education and enforcement will make a difference. thanks for reading and the comment.

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