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Ask a Trooper: Clarifying pedestrian laws

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Minnesota State Patrol

Question: I recently read your traffic safety article about pedestrian safety. What did you mean when you wrote, “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”. That appears to contradict the part you wrote (that I believe is correct with the law in your article) when you said, “... 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.”

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Please clarify this for me, because I know that the law says, “Vehicles must yield right of way to pedestrians who are crossing the road at a place where there is no marked crosswalk. Every intersection is a crosswalk — even those without painted lines, signs or stop lights.” Thank you in advance for your attention and prompt response to this.

Answer: You are correct with what the law says about intersections and pedestrians. However, I was referring to locations other than at intersections, (like in the middle of a block, jaywalking, etc). Looking at what I wrote, it was my fault and I admit that I was unclear about what I meant and the way I worded it was not what I really wanted to say.

Specifically, when I said, “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”, I meant it to read more like the actual statute where it says in M.S.S. 169.21 subdivision 3(a) about crossing between intersections, “Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.”

Thank you for your request to clarify this. If you noticed it and wondered about it, someone else probably did too and I want to make sure that people are getting the real message of what I am saying and not something else. The pedestrian safety issue is a huge concern. Motorists and pedestrians need to work together and cooperate for safety.

If you have any questions for future columns concerning motor vehicle traffic in Minnesota, please send your questions to: “ASK A TROOPER” c/o Sgt. Curt S. Mowers, MN State Patrol, P.O. Box 644, Brainerd, MN, 56401, or email questions to curtis.mowers@state.mn.us with Ask a Trooper in the subject line. Questions are edited.

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Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889
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