In an Opinion piece in Woodbury Patch, Angela Johnson comments on the ambiguous nature of Minnesota’s crosswalk laws.
In Woodbury, Don’t Cross Me
While it’s unlawful for any driver to not stop and yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk, the law doesn’t address whether drivers must stop for pedestrians waiting on the curb to cross at intersections with no signal.
So drivers and pedestrians alike flounder in self-righteous confusion. Some drivers honk in disgust at other drivers who don’t stop for curbside waiting walkers, while some walkers wave off a stopped vehicle, preferring a clear roadway before crossing. Without uniformity, there’s hesitancy and angry people.
As cyclists are pedestrians whenever they enter a crosswalk, this commentary is just as valid for cyclists at many trail crossings.
I think the statutes intend for motorists to yield to pedestrians waiting to cross even if the pedestrian has not physically stepped into the roadway, however, this is not what the law says. Either way, Statute 169.21 could use clarification. If the roadway is experiencing an unending stream of traffic (e.g. rush hour), does the statute intend for pedestrians to wait indefinitely to cross? Or Does the law intend to give pedestrians Moses-like power to part the vehicles on the roadway at will to cross, regardless of roadway context? If the intent is somewhere between these extremes, how could you craft a clear statute stating as much?