Monday, June 20, 2011

MN Nice Meets the Law of Unintended Consequences: MN Yield to Pedestrians In Crosswalks Law Must Be Repealed

Where traffic control signals are not in place or in operation, a driver must stop for a pedestrian crossing within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk. A vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk can 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."

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. A second violation within one year is a gross misdemeanor.

Cities can 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., qualify for such designation. District councils, community clubs, or other organizations can petition their city councils to designate these crosswalks.

It sounded like such a good idea at the time, require Minnesota drivers to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Nevermind the fact that this was already the law. But all it took was a couple of tragic, well publicized instances of pedestrians being struck and killed to produce the inevitable legislation by victimization clamor resulting in bad legislation and the law of unintended consequences.

After the predictable passage of this crap piece of legislation, local law enforcement and the MN Department of Public Safety conducted state wide enforcement and publicity campaigns cracking down on anyone who even slightly entered an intersection when pedestrians were anywhere in the crosswalk even if they were inches from stepping onto the far curb. Now every time I drive anywhere near crosswalks in the state I get imbeciles who either do not have jobs or anywhere they have to be, slamming on their brakes when they see pedestrians, bicycles dogs or squirrels remotely approaching an intersection.

I cannot tell you the number of times I have almost laid down my motorcycle or rear ended some well intended but clueless ambassador of Minnesota Nice who sees someone ten yards from the curb and they stop and start with the hand gesture like their the Pope or something.


If you could not tell, this just happened to me again on my way home from work today and I would like to rip the head off the a$$h*le. I am second in line at the longest light in Minneapolis waiting for a green arrow so I can take a left turn in rush hour traffic.

The green arrow finally signals us to proceed and out of courtesy you try to hurry through so at least three or four cars can turn left before the light changes. We get about3/4s through the intersection when, without warning, a male version of Mother Theresa in the lead car short stops for some idiot on the center island. Although the pedestrian was attempting to cross where you're not supposed to and there was not even a cross walk, at least she was intelligent enough to be content to wait until all the vehicles in the left turn lane had gotten through the intersection. Well this apparently wasn't good enough for Saint Samaritan who almost caused a four car pile up so he could emphasize the fact that he was in no particular hurry as all three cars behind him stared into two lanes of on-coming highway traffic.

Repeal this abortion of a traffic ordinance now before more people die as a result of the law rather than in spite of it!

It reminds me when our former Governor Good N Plenty, in an attempt to distract from the fact that his Department of Corrections had fallen down on the job and let a dangerous level 3 sex offender back on the street who then kidnapped and murdered a young woman, at a time when nearly every level 3 sex offender was being subjected to indefinite civil commitments, responded with the wildly knee jerk and stupid cry for new legislation calling for the death penalty for kidnappers who also commit first degree sexual conduct on their victims. Pawlenty quickly shut up when someone pointed out that that was the law in many states before they realized the unintended consequence that the perpetrator would be incentivized to kill the victim. Whoops! Maybe Pawlenty should run for governor of Texas instead of President. Repeal the crosswalk law Now!!

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