Accidents between pedestrians and vehicles occur in a broad range of situations. However, these are a few of the common scenarios to watch out for:
Turning Movements at Signalized Intersections
Left turning vehicles at signalized intersections are common scenarios for pedestrian crashes. Right turning vehicles at signalized intersections are less common. Minnesota Signal law requires motorists turning at signalized intersections to stop for pedestrians who have legally entered adjacent crosswalks. The most common turning accidents involve left turning motorists.
- For Motorists: Don’t forget when you’re looking for the gap in vehicle traffic to make a left turn, to also check for pedestrians crossing to your left.
- For Pedestrians: A "Walk" or flashing "Don’t Walk" signal does not guarantee your safety. Always check for turning motorists in all directions. Drivers have to look for oncoming vehicles as well as pedestrians.
Crossing the Street Mid-Block
Pedestrians crossing in the middle of the block are another common scenario for pedestrian crashes. State statute requires pedestrians crossing mid-block (between 2 intersections) to yield to vehicles, unless a mid-block crossing is marked.
For Motorists: Always be prepared to stop for a pedestrian who fails to yield, especially young children on residential streets. Look for pedestrians emerging from between parked vehicles.
- For Pedestrians: Do not cross a street mid-block if you cannot yield to vehicles. Drivers often don’t expect pedestrians in mid-block areas, and sometimes cannot see a pedestrian emerging from between parked vehicles. Mid-block crossings are illegal between 2 adjacent intersections which both have traffic signals.
The "Double Threat"
A "double threat" can occur on streets with two or more lanes of vehicles traveling in the same direction (e.g. a 2-way, 4-lane street, or a 1-way, 3-lane street). If one vehicle stops for a pedestrian and another vehicle overtakes it on either side, the pedestrian may not be visible and be struck.
- For Motorists: Never pass a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians. Minnesota Pedestrian law prohibits this action. If you are the motorist who initially stops for a pedestrian, stop your vehicle well in advance of the crossing area. This will give the pedestrian a better line of vision.
- For Pedestrians: In this situation, you may be blocked from the view of other approaching motorists by a stopped vehicle. Always proceed slowly and cautiously in this situation. Be especially careful if a stopped vehicle is so close that your line of vision is obscured.
Last updated Sep. 27, 2011