Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Pedestrians

Education

Resources for anyone looking to improve pedestrian safety statewide.

Safety tips for pedestrians and motorists

Pedestrians and motorists are equally responsible for pedestrian safety. Motorist behaviors cause about half of all pedestrian-vehicle crashes and pedestrian behaviors cause the other half. Pedestrians can’t do much to improve a driver's habits, just like drivers can’t do anything about pedestrian behaviors. We all must take responsibility to follow the law, pay attention and share the road. Follow the law and these safety guidelines to keep everyone safe:

Pedestrians

Look before you crossLook before you cross
  • Make eye contact with drivers and ensure they see you and will stop
  • Clearly show your intentions to cross
  • Watch for turning and passing vehicles
  • Look across ALL lanes for moving vehicles before proceeding
Make yourself visible to driversMake yourself visible to drivers
  • Stand clear of buses, hedges, parked cars or other obstacles before crossing
  • Cross in a well-lit area at night
  • Wear bright-colored clothing and reflective material
  • Mount a safety flag on a wheelchair, motorized cart or stroller
Avoid dangerous and distracted behaviorsAvoid dangerous and distracted behaviors
  • Cross streets at marked crosswalks or intersections; don’t cross-mid block
  • Remove headphones and stay off cell phones while crossing
  • Obey all traffic signals
  • Don't solely rely on traffic signals; look for vehicles before crossing
  • Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic
  • If intoxicated, don't walk without assistance—a cab ride home may be a safer option

Motorists

Stop for crossing pedestriansStop for crossing pedestrians
  • Stop for crossing pedestrians at every intersection, even those without crosswalks or stop lights
  • Before making a turn, look in all directions for pedestrians
  • Leave lots of room between you and the pedestrian when stopping 
Watch for pedestrians at all timesWatch for pedestrians at all times
  • Scan the road and sides of the road ahead for pedestrians
  • Look carefully behind your vehicle before backing up, especially for small children
  • Watch for people in wheelchairs and motorized carts, who may be below eye level 
Avoid distracted and aggressive drivingAvoid distracted and aggressive driving
  • Put away the cell phones, food and make-up
  • Stop for pedestrians, even when they are in the wrong or crossing mid-block
  • Never pass or drive around a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians
  • Obey speed limits and come to a complete stop at STOP signs

Crosswalk law

Read the full Crosswalk Law from Minnesota Statute 169.21. Highlights include:

  • Drivers must stop for crossing pedestrians at marked crosswalks and at all intersections without crosswalks or stop lights.
  • Pedestrians must obey traffic signs and signals at all intersections that have them.
  • Vehicles stopped for pedestrians can proceed once the pedestrian has completely crossed the lane in front of the stopped vehicle.
  • Pedestrians must not enter a crosswalk if a vehicle is approaching and it is impossible for the driver to stop. There is no defined distance that a pedestrian must abide by before entering the crosswalk; use common sense.
  • 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 stopped vehicle.
  • Failure to obey the law is a misdemeanor. A second violation within one year is a gross misdemeanor.

Crash facts

View more information on the Minnesota Department of Public Safety website.

Pedestrian-vehicle crash trends

  • Pedestrian-vehicle crash rates are highest during morning and evening rush hours. The number of severe crashes spikes at 2 a.m.
  • October is traditionally the deadliest month for pedestrians.
  • The majority of crashes occur at intersections. Of these, the majority are at signalized intersections.
  • The majority of crashes occur on low-speed roadways (35 mph or less) and in urbanized areas, particularly Hennepin and Ramsey counties. The most severe and fatal crashes disproportionately occur in rural areas compared to population size.
  • Pedestrians are found at fault for half of pedestrian-vehicle crashes. Motorists are found at fault for the other half.
    • Motorist behaviors that primarily cause pedestrian-vehicle crashes include failure to yield, inattention and distraction.
    • Pedestrian behaviors that primarily cause pedestrian-vehicle crashes include inattention, crossing mid-block, walking along the roadway and ignoring sign or signals.
  • About one-third of pedestrians tested in fatal crashes have high alcohol content in their bloodstreams.

Pedestrian fatalities/injuries

  • In 2015, males accounted for 68 percent of pedestrian fatalities.
  • In 2015, 41 pedestrians were killed and 904 pedestrians were injured on Minnesota roads.
  • Five percent of all pedestrian crashes resulted in a death. That's 10 times deadlier than fatal traffic crashes, which are one-half of one percent of all traffic crashes.
  • In 2015, persons over 54 years old accounted for 44 percent of pedestrians killed and 20 percent of pedestrians injured.
  • In 2015, one-third of pedestrians killed that were tested had high alcohol content in their bloodstreams.

Safety campaigns and programs

Other agency guidance