Tips for Pedestrians
- Before crossing a street, scan in all directions. Look left, right, and then left again. Also check for vehicles which may be entering the roadway from a nearby intersection or driveway.
- Cross streets at marked or unmarked crosswalks. Marked crosswalks have pavement markings, pedestrian warning signs, and/or flashing lights. An unmarked crosswalk occurs at any intersection where crosswalks are not marked. If you choose to cross mid-block, you must yield to vehicles (unless the crossing is marked). Mid-block crossings are illegal if there are traffic signals at both ends of the block.
- Do not enter the crosswalk if approaching vehicles cannot stop. While Minnesota’s Pedestrian law says that motorists must stop to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, it also says that pedestrians may not enter a crosswalk if it is impossible for a driver to stop. The word "crosswalk" applies to both marked and unmarked areas where pedestrians can gain the right-of-way.
- When ready to cross a street, make eye contact with vehicle drivers, and keep your eyes and ears on vehicle speed and noise. Always be prepared for a motorist who fails to yield the right-of-way. The law does not require motorists to stop for a pedestrian waiting to enter a crosswalk. If a motorist does stop, proceed cautiously to determine if other approaching vehicles are following suit. As an alternative, you can wave a stopped motorist on, if you are uncomfortable crossing while motorists are present.
- Obey "Walk/Don’t Walk" signals. Minnesota Signal law says that a pedestrian may only enter a signalized intersection when the "Walk" signal is shown. They may not enter a crosswalk with a flashing or steady "Don’t Walk" signal.
- Look carefully for vehicles emerging from alleys and driveways. While it is illegal for motorists to emerge without stopping before the sidewalk, always be prepared for a vehicle which does not stop.
- Stand clear of buses, hedges, parked cars, and other obstacles before crossing a street, so drivers can see you.
- Cross in well lit areas at night, or wear brightly colored clothing or reflective materials. Carrying a flashlight at night can also make you more visible to drivers.
- Watch out for vehicles which are backing up in parking lots, driveways, or on the street. Look for backup lights and listen for vehicle noise.
- Don’t walk after consuming alcohol or other drugs. Drunk walking increases your chances of being struck.
- Keep distractions to a minimum – do not use cell phones or headphones when you are crossing a street.
- Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk on either side of the street, or if the sidewalk is inaccessible, walk facing vehicles.
- Proceed carefully when crossing, never run into the street.
Last updated Sep. 27, 2011