Avoid Pedestrian Car Accidents in Minnesota

Matthew E. Steinbrink - SiebenCarey "Know Your Rights" AttorneyDecember 07, 2015

Walking.  The simple act of putting one foot in front of the other can be a dangerous proposition when we are trying to cross a roadway or street.  When a car strikes a pedestrian, typically, the unfortunate result is that the injury is more serious, more debilitating, and more more difficult to recover from, if at all.

In the last few weeks, three were killed in pedestrian related car accidents in Minnesota.  One was a 5 year-old boy in Minneapolis struck on Halloween, another a 35 year-old woman struck by a semi truck on interstate 35 near Sandstone, and yet another a 54 year-old woman struck by a car on Highway 95 near Cambridge.    

It is important for drivers to understand their responsibilities when encountering pedestrians on the road.    First, many think crosswalks are only those areas that are marked by the “ladder-type” markings on a roadway, which is  inaccurate.  A crosswalk, by statutory definition, does not need to be marked to be a crosswalk; a crosswalk exists where there is a sidewalk-to-sidewalk crossing at any intersection.  Drivers must anticipate pedestrian traffic and drive safely where any crosswalk exists, whether marked or unmarked.  

When drivers approach an intersection where another vehicle is stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross, drivers approaching from the rear must not pass the stopped vehicle.  The risk presented is that the passing driver may strike a crossing pedestrian.  

Often times, motorists making a left-hand turn present significant risks to pedestrians, in or outside of marked crosswalks.  The reason for this is that the motorist will often be focused on oncoming traffic and forget, or neglect to consider that pedestrians are also crossing at the intersection in front of them.  Additionally, while not strictly pedestrians, drivers will also often neglect to appreciate bicyclists traveling next to them, or near the rear of their vehicle, which results in a left turn into and often over the bicyclist.  

Drivers must maintain an awareness of their surroundings at all times, share the road with pedestrians, and anticipate that pedestrians will be on the road as well.  Whether a crosswalk is marked or unmarked, drivers must yield to pedestrian traffic.  

Please take a moment to consider pedestrians before you get behind the wheel.  Share the road and yield to non-motorist traffic.  The consequences of not acknowledging that others besides fellow drivers share the road with you are substantial.  

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