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Crosswalks and pedestrians

Question: Would you please re-address the law on stopping for pedestrians, and the correct actions and responsibilities of pedestrians in relation to the law? Most drivers seem to be unaware of the requirement to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks and it seems like a lot of pedestrians are getting hit in recent times.

Answer: M.S.S. 169.21 subdivision 2 states in part: “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. 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.”

The law also says that when any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.

Pedestrians who are crossing the road at a place where there is no marked crosswalk or intersection, have to yield right of way to vehicles. Penalties for first time violations of this section are 90 days in jail or $700 fine or both; subsequent violations are gross misdemeanors, fetching you up to a year of imprisonment or $3000 fine or both. The pedestrian always loses the battle with motor vehicles, and the price could be their life! Thanks for asking.

If you have any questions for future columns concerning motor vehicle traffic in Minnesota, send your questions to: Sgt. Curt S. Mowers MN State Patrol P.O. Box 644 Brainerd MN 56401. E-mail questions to with “Ask a Trooper” in the subject line. Questions are edited.