From: Sgt. Jacalyn Sticha
Minnesota State Patrol
Q. I had a person run into the crosswalk from the side street. I almost hit him and he got mad at me. Was I in the wrong?
A. Often our pedestrian safety laws are not completely understood. A pedestrian does not have absolute right of way; they must not surprise a driver nor should they cross if there is not enough time for a driver to see them and safely stop.
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.”
A few other things for drivers and pedestrians to remember:
Pedestrians must cross with the green light.
If it is a corner without a crosswalk painted on the roadway we still must give right of way to the pedestrian as if there were a crosswalk.
Drivers must be diligent scanning for pedestrians.
Drivers are not to stop on the crosswalk.
Drivers are not to proceed until the pedestrian has passed the lane in which the driver is stopped.
A pedestrian crossing a street at a place other than within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
Coming up to and moving through a crosswalk requires a pedestrian’s full attention. Talking on the phone, texting, or using a tablet when crossing is very foolish. Just as we drive defensively - we must walk/cross defensively.
Animals at large
Q. My neighbor has cattle and horses; they are always getting out of their fences - many times onto the roadway.
Isn’t there some kind of law requiring animals to be kept more secure than that?
A. Yes, there are laws. M.S.S. 346.16 says that: “It shall be unlawful for any owner or any person having the control of any such animal to permit the same to run at large in the state.” There are other laws that could apply, but that one seems to fit what you are talking about more directly.
A fence that is not maintained may allow animals to exit. It is the duty of the owner to maintain their fencing and contain their animals. Livestock and horses on the roadways can be very dangerous. They may cause crashes and some are tragic. However, most livestock are well contained and if they do get out are retrieved without harm to anyone. Contact law enforcement if you see livestock, dogs, or other animals on the roadway that have not cleared.