Pedestrians: Learn the Damn Rules

It is safe to say that I am very ped-centric. I went to school in Boston, where pedestrians own the city. They own it. I have never seen such brazen enforcement of pedestrian right-of-way. And quite frankly, I loved it.

Moving back to Minnesota, I’ve noticed something else: pedestrians will scurry guiltily across the street if a car is waiting—even if there is a “Walk” signal in their favor. And today I was at a four-way stop and there was a pedestrian waiting to cross. I stopped and waited for the pedestrian, who was just standing there. “We are in a suburb,” I mused to myself, “Maybe she assumes I don’t know the rules.” I waved her across. She then waved me across!

No! That is wrong! That is so horribly, embarrassingly wrong! Pedestrians always have the right-of-way. Always!

According to Minnesota Statute 2005, Chapter 169.21:

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.

Nowhere does it say, “When at a crosswalk, the pedestrian can direct traffic at his or her whim, especially to the effect of confusing drivers and slowing traffic.”

Learn the damn rules.

4 Comments so far

  1. brian on August 29th, 2008 @ 9:51 pm

    Yet, if you wave someone across a street and they get hit by another car, you–the waver–are liable. Caveat waver, so to speak.

  2. emilysaysso on August 29th, 2008 @ 10:32 pm

    It’s not just the pedestrians; I’ve been waved across by other drivers who CLEARLY had the right of way. As in, I had a stop sign and they didn’t.

    I know they’re trying to reinforce this whole "Minnesota Nice" thing, but people who use the roads here are WAY too passive. Probably explains why some think "merging" means "coming to a complete stop at the end of the onramp."

  3. Erica M (ericam) on August 30th, 2008 @ 10:12 am

    I’ve been waved across by other drivers who CLEARLY had the right of way. As in, I had a stop sign and they didn’t.

    That drives me insane. So to speak.

  4. kevinfromminneapolis on August 30th, 2008 @ 7:20 pm


    I was on my bike once in Uptown during the art fair riding down 27th street which is littered with stop signs on alternate intersections. Well this damn car comes up and stops at EVERY intersection even if there wasn’t a stop sign, making an already tough driving situation worse. I noticed he had the windows down so I lit into him (and his stupid wife) with a litany of expletives about how to drive and where to drive back to if he wasn’t going to pay attention to what he was doing. Felt nice.

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