I read that section of the law as requiring pedestrians to act safely (as in other places it instructs drivers to act safely). You have the right of way, but you don't have the right to just step out without checking for oncoming traffic, and judging whether that traffic can stop.David Greene wrote: So then why the part about pedestrians not stepping into the roadway if cars can't stop? Shouldn't the cars be stopping long before that would be a possibility?
As an able bodied person, sure, I step out onto the roadway with cars approaching hoping they'll stop in the adequate distance I've given them. But numerous times in this state I've had to leap back. That gives me a lot of pause about doing the same thing with a child in tow, or if I was less mobile or able to judge stopping distances.
So, the idea that pedestrians have to step into the roadway to be given the right of way is pretty dangerous unless you're agile. There also situations--particularly in winter--but also on other narrow lanes where there's no safe place to stand in the roadway without being in the path of traffic.
The idea that you have to step into the roadway makes the least sense on busy 30-40mph roads, where cars following at [recommended] 2 second intervals are traveling slowly enough to stop safely, but not slowly enough that you should step out immediately after one car has passed and trust the next one will stop for you.
As mulad points out pedestrians who are motionless are harder to see on the side of the road. But most pedestrians who are trying to cross are somewhat active, i.e. looking around at the traffic and indicating an intent to cross by their placement and actions. And that's at an unmarked intersection.
At a marked crossing how could there be any confusion about what pedestrians are doing. It's just obtuse nonsense to suggest that a pedestrian who is standing on the curb at a marked pedestrian crossing (stripes/signs etc) might just be hanging out there for grins and giggles not intending to cross, and you don't need to stop for them because they're not actually in front of the cars.
Finally, from all reports (and IME) in California people obey the crosswalk law better than here. It turns out to have approximately the same wording as ours:
Indeed if you look up the text of crossing laws around the United States, the legislation here is pretty much identical to what you find in other states. The differences in Minnesota driver behavior compared to other states is not some ambiguity of our law. I would venture to say that since the physical environment of our crossings is also pretty similar to other U.S. states, the difference almost certainly lies in education and enforcement here.California legislation wrote: 21950. (a) The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to
a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or
within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except as otherwise
provided in this chapter.
(b) This section does not relieve a pedestrian from the duty of
using due care for his or her safety. No pedestrian may suddenly
leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path
of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
No pedestrian may unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a
marked or unmarked crosswalk.
(c) The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any
marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care and shall
reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action relating to
the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of
(d) Subdivision (b) does not relieve a driver of a vehicle from
the duty of exercising due care for the safety of any pedestrian
within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displ ... 1949-21971
For reference sake, here are some international laws which do explicitly call out the requirement to stop for waiting pedestrians
New Zealand rules wrote: A driver approaching a pedestrian crossing must—
(a) give way to pedestrians, and to riders of wheeled recreational devices or mobility devices,—
(i) on the pedestrian crossing; or
(ii) obviously waiting to cross it and who are not behind a school patrol sign; and
(b) if necessary, slow down and stop the driver's vehicle for that purpose.
http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulati ... 03663.html
British rules wrote: Zebra crossings. As you approach a zebra crossing
look out for pedestrians waiting to cross and be ready to slow down or stop to let them cross
you MUST give way when a pedestrian has moved onto a crossing
allow more time for stopping on wet or icy roads
do not wave or use your horn to invite pedestrians across; this could be dangerous if another vehicle is approaching
be aware of pedestrians approaching from the side of the crossing.
https://www.gov.uk/using-the-road-159-t ... 191-to-199