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The Minnesota Crosswalk Law: Key Elements

Author / Coordinator: Office of Revisor of Statutes
Minnesota Safety Council
March 2007

  • Where traffic control signals are not in place or in operation, a driver must stop when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk. Effective September 1, 2000: A vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk will be allowed to proceed once the pedestrian has completely crossed the lane in front of the stopped vehicle.
  • A pedestrian must not enter a crosswalk if a vehicle is approaching. There is no defined distance that a pedestrian must abide by before entering the crosswalk, but common sense should prevail. 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 crosswalk does not have to be marked to be covered by this law. At an intersection, a crosswalk exists from sidewalk to sidewalk, even if lines are not painted on the street.
  • When a vehicle is stopped at an intersection to allow pedestrians to cross the roadway, drivers of other vehicles approaching from the rear must not pass the other vehicle.
  • It's unlawful for the driver of a motor vehicle to proceed through a group of school children crossing a street or highway, or past a member of a school safety patrol or adult crossing guard who is directing children across the roadway and who is holding an official signal in the stop position.
  • Failure to obey the law is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a $700 fine, or both.
  • Effective September 1, 2000: Cities will be able to designate crosswalks for longer illumination of "Walk" "Don't Walk" signal lights. Intersections where there is a high concentration of pedestrians, senior citizens, school children, etc., will qualify for such designation. District councils, community clubs, or other organizations will be able to petition their city councils to designate these crosswalks.


Minnesota Statutes 1999, Chapter 169.21

169.21 Pedestrian.

Subdivision 1. Obey traffic-control signals.
Pedestrians shall be subject to traffic-control signals at intersections as heretofore declared in this chapter, but at all other places pedestrians shall be accorded the privileges and shall be subject to the restrictions stated in this section and section and 169.22.

Subd. 2. Rights in absence of signal.

(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 within any crosswalk 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. This provision shall not apply under the conditions as otherwise provided in this subdivision.

(b) When any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.

(c) It is unlawful for any person to drive a motor vehicle through a column of school children crossing a street or highway or past a member of a school safety patrol or adult crossing guard, while the member of the school safety patrol or adult crossing guard is directing the movement of children across a street or highway and while the school safety patrol member or adult crossing guard is holding an official signal in the stop position. A peace officer may arrest the driver of a motor vehicle if the peace officer has probable cause to believe that the driver has operated the vehicle in violation of this paragraph within the past four hours.

(d) A person who violates this subdivision is guilty of a misdemeanor and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 90 days or to payment of a fine of not more than $700, or both. A person who violates this subdivision a second or subsequent time within one year of a previous conviction under this subdivision is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year or to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both.

Subd. 3. Crossing between intersections.

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.

Any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

Between adjacent intersections at which traffic-control signals are in operation pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.

Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section every driver of a vehicle shall: (a) exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicycle or pedestrian upon any roadway and (b) give an audible signal when necessary and exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person upon a roadway.

Subd. 4. Use right half of crosswalk.

Pedestrians shall move when practicable upon the right half of crosswalks.

Subd. 5. Walk on left side of roadway.

Pedestrians when walking or moving in a wheelchair along a roadway shall, when practicable, walk or move on the left side of the roadway or its shoulder giving way to oncoming traffic. Where sidewalks are provided and are accessible and usable it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk or move in a wheelchair along and upon an adjacent roadway.

169.2151 PEDESTRIAN SAFETY CROSSINGS.

A local road authority may provide by ordinance for the designation of pedestrian safety crossings on highways under the road authority's jurisdiction where pedestrian safety considerations require extra time for pedestrian crossing in addition to the time recommended under the Minnesota manual of uniform traffic control devices for pedestrian signals. The ordinance may provide for timing of pedestrian signals for such crossings, consistent with the recommendations of the uniform manual for pedestrian signal timing at senior citizen and handicapped pedestrian crossings. Cities other than cities of the first class may designate a pedestiran safety crossing only with the approval of the road authority having jurisdiction over the crossing. The authority of local road authorities to determine pedestrian signal timing under this section is in addition to any other control exercised by local road authorities over the timing of pedestrian signals.

HIST: (2720-202, 2720-203, 2720-204, 2720-205, 2720-207) 1937 c 464 s 52-55,57; 1939 c 430 s 10; 1947 c 428 s 18; 1973 c 193 s 1;1974 c 379 s 2; 1978 c 739 s 11; 1982 c 468 s 3; 1986 c 444; 1994 c 647 art 12 s 12; 1Sp1995 c 3 art 2 s 31; 1996 c 333 s 1; 1997 c 159 art 2 s 23

Copyright 1999 by the Office of Revisor of Statutes, State of Minnesota.