Ask a Trooper: Pedestrian and Bike Safety

By KBJR News 1

Ask a Trooper: Pedestrian and Bike Safety

May 13, 2013 Updated May 13, 2013 at 11:25 AM CDT

In this week's Ask a Trooper article, Sgt. Curtis Mowers of the Minnesota State Patrol reminds motorists about the pedestrian and bicycle safety laws.

Question: I know the Minnesota pedestrian law says that pedestrians in crosswalks have right-of-way; and I totally agree. My concern is that many times I see people jay-walking in the middle of the block, quite often parents hanging onto kids; and they are expecting traffic to stop for them. Unfortunately, most times traffic continues past because they are not in a crosswalk, which leaves the pedestrians in a serious danger zone. Second safety issue: perhaps people should be reminded of personal safety when riding bikes or walking along roadways with no sidewalks. Many times lately, I have seen bikes going against traffic and pedestrians walking with traffic, both of which are exactly opposite to personal safety.

Answer: These are all great topics and a reminder is good for everyone. You are correct as for Minnesota law stating that pedestrians have the right-of-way but I’d really like to emphasize that pedestrian safety is a two-way street. Minnesota law and good common senses states:

- Motorists must treat every corner and intersection as a crosswalk, whether it’s marked or unmarked, and drivers must stop for crossing pedestrians.
- Pedestrians must obey traffic control devices, and when no traffic control device is present, motorists must stop for crossing pedestrians within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk.

To address your second safety issue you have that correct also. Bicyclists must:
- Ride on the road, and must ride in the same direction as traffic.
- Obey all traffic control signs and signals, just as motorists.
- Signal your turns and ride in a predictable manner.
- Use a headlight and rear reflectors when it's dark.

Pedestrians are reminded to walk facing traffic. Each year in Minnesota, approximately 30 pedestrians and 10 bicyclists are killed as a result of collisions with motor vehicles. These type of collisions are preventable and do not need to be part of the annual reality. Increasing awareness of pedestrian safety will help reduce pedestrian-vehicle crashes, as well as reduce the fatalities and serious injuries that result from these crashes.

Bicyclists and motorists are equally responsible for safety. Many factors contribute to crashes including inattention and distractions. For more information please check out sharetheroadmn.org. Remember, now as we’ve turned back the clocks, days will become darker, making it more difficult to see bikes and pedestrians during morning and afternoon rush hours. Many bicyclists and motorcyclists are still out riding!

Posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati