Pedestrians and the Right of Way

Robert Edwards Nov. 28, 2012

The day before yesterday a 16-year-old girl was killed when trying to cross Highway 10, here in Anoka, after working at McDonald's. The facts of the case were not totally clear from newspaper reports, so it was not certain if the young woman was within a crosswalk or not. Minnesota traffic statutes layout the "Rules of the Road" for pedestrians and drivers as follows:

(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.

In this case it appears as though traffic signals were in operation, so whether the young woman was in the crosswalk may be irrelevant if she was walking against a red light.

Another statute states:

(a) 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.

This clearly puts the burden on the pedestrian to yield the right-of-way to any vehicles if the pedestrian is not within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection that doesn't have a marked crosswalk.

If the crash and her death was this young woman's fault, her family still can recover no-fault benefits for any medical care she received and funeral expenses as well as possible survivors benefits to replace the earnings or the household services value of this young woman's contributions to the family. Small comfort.