PEDESTRIAN, BICYCLE, MOTORCYCLE, SCHOOL BUS, WINTER DRIVING
And OTHER SAFETY INFORMATION
Pedestrian Law Highlights
- 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.
Pedestrians Safety Is a Two-Way Street
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.
Read full statute: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=169.21
Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety Guide
19 Pedestrian Safety Tips for Drivers
Pedestrian & Road Safety for Kids
Minnesota Pedestrian crash facts from 2015
- Pedestrian involved crash incidence increased in 2015 from 818 (2014) to 911. Deaths increased from 17 to 41. Most deaths happen in larger cities during the two rush hours. October was the most dangerous month. Ages 20 to 24 had the most deaths and injuries. 26% of those killed were crossing a street without a crosswalk or signal.
- Most drivers causing the crash with a pedestrian were driving straight when they hit the pedestrian. Main contributing factors for the crash was failure to yield and distracted driving. Of the 10 pedestrian fatalities involving alcohol all 10 were over .10bac’
Bicycle Safety laws Every person operating a bicycle shall have all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle by this chapter, except in respect to those provisions in this chapter relating expressly to bicycles and in respect to those provisions of this chapter which by their nature cannot reasonably be applied to bicycles.
To read all the laws pertaining to bicycles go to www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=169.222
Bicycles | National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota
Bicycle trails and organizations in Minnesota
Minnesota 2015 crash facts for bicycle riders
- Bicycle Crashes increased from 776 (2014) to 898. The most dangerous time is from 3:00 – 6:00 pm and most of these were in big cities. June was the worse month. Failure to yield the right of way was cited most often for both the bicyclists and other motor vehicle drivers. Driver inattention or distraction was the second contributing factor cited most often for the other drivers. These statistics are only for bicycle crashes with motor vehicles.
More bicycle crash facts are at this website http://www.dot.state.mn.us/sharetheroad/bike
Safe Driving Tips for Motorists
Watch for Motorcyclists!
About half of all motorcycle crashes involve a collision with another vehicle. In many crashes, the driver never saw the motorcyclist — or didn't see the rider until it was too late. There are many reasons why other drivers do not see motorcyclists.
- Most car drivers aren't familiar with motorcycles and don't look for them in traffic.
- Motorcycle riders often wear leathers which are usually dark in color and can easily blend into the background.
- Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles, so they are more difficult to spot in traffic and can be hidden by other vehicles or roadside features.
- Daytime headlight use does not give motorcycle riders much of an advantage anymore, due to the widespread use of daytime running lights on cars.
- The smaller size and single headlight on the motorcycle make it more difficult for other drivers to judge a rider's speed and distance.
Motorcycle Safety Guide: Table of Contents
Facts about motorcycle crashes in Minnesota in 2015
- Motorcycle deaths and injuries were the greatest in the 40 and older age bracket; they accounted for 69% of all motorcycle crashes. 78% of those killed were known to NOT be wearing their helmet. The most dangerous time for motorcyclists is between 1 –5 pm. 28% of tested motorcyclists involved in crashes were over .08BAC. There has been a continuing increase in motorcycle registration. There were 1,352 crashes involving motorcycles. In 2015 fatalities have increased greatly from 46 to 61. June was the most dangerous month.
· Main contributing factors of crashes involving a single motorcycle were speed (19%), driver inexperience (11%), distraction (11%) and chemical impairment. Motorcycle and vehicle crashes attributed to the motor vehicle driver are usually caused by - failure to yield (40%) and driver inattention & distraction (17%). 47% of all crashes are alcohol related
SCHOOL BUS LAWS IN MINNESOTA for the safety of children
Children getting on and off the bus: When a school bus is stopped on a street or highway, or other location where signs have been erected and is displaying an extended stop-signal arm and flashing red lights, the driver of a vehicle approaching the bus, from either direction, shall stop the vehicle at least 20 feet away from the bus. The vehicle driver shall not move until the school bus stop-signal arm is retracted and the red lights are no longer flashing.
No person may pass or attempt to pass a school bus in a motor vehicle on the right-hand, passenger-door side of the bus when the school bus is displaying the pre-warning flashing amber signals.
Violations of either of these paragraphs is a Gross Misdemeanor
For safety sake, stop your vehicle when you see the flashing yellow lights.
Facts about Minnesota School bus crashes in 2015
- There were 690 traffic crashes where at least one school bus was involved. This didn’t mean that the bus driver was at fault. 1 person was killed and 234 injuries
- Less than 1% of all school bus crashes occurred when the school bus arm was deployed
- In 51% of the crashes the school bus driver had no contributing factor. For the other 48% the 2 main contributing factors were distraction and failure to yield. The most commonly cited contributing factors attributed to the “other driver” was inattention/distraction, (21%) failure to yield (15%) and following too closely (11%)
- Minnesota’s Ted Foss Move Over Law requires motorists on multi-lane highways to move one lane away from emergency vehicles with flashing lights on the roadway or shoulder
To put it simply:
- If you are traveling on a roadway with two of more lanes, you must keep a lane away when passing a stopped ambulance, fire truck, or law enforcement vehicle.
- If you are not able to safely move a lane away, reduce your speed.
- If you fail to take these actions you could receive a citation.
- Ignoring this law endangers the law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, and tow truck drivers who provide critical — and sometimes lifesaving — services on Minnesota roadways.
RAILROAD SAFETY TIPS FOR DRIVERS
- Trains and cars don't mix. Never race a train to the crossing — even if you tie, you lose.
- The train you see is closer and faster-moving than you think. If you see a train approaching, wait for it to go by before you proceed across the tracks.
- Be aware that trains cannot stop quickly. Even if the locomotive engineer sees you, a freight train moving at 55 miles per hour can take a mile or more to stop once the emergency brakes are applied. That's 18 football fields!
- Never drive around lowered gates — it's illegal and deadly. If you suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call the 1-800 number posted on or near the crossing signal or your local law enforcement agency.
- Do not get trapped on the tracks; proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping. Remember, the train is three feet wider than the tracks on both sides.
- If your vehicle ever stalls on a track with a train coming, get out immediately and move quickly away from the tracks in the direction from which the train is coming. If you run in the same direction the train is traveling, when the train hits your car you could be injured by flying debris. Call your local law enforcement agency for assistance.
- At a multiple track crossing waiting for a train to pass, watch out for a second train on the other tracks, approaching from either direction.
- When you need to cross train tracks, go to a designated crossing, look both ways, and cross the tracks quickly, without stopping. Remember it isn't safe to stop closer than 15 feet from a rail.
- ALWAYS EXPECT A TRAIN! Freight trains do not follow set schedules.
For more information on train safety
Safe driving tips that everyone should adhere to every time they drive
1. If you have a child, they need to be in a car seat in the back seat of your vehicle. Most car seats are not installed properly so go down to your local police station and ask for a car seat safety check.
2. Wear a seat-belt, it is so easy and can prevent many injures, yet millions of people do not wear a seat-belt.
3. Do NOT drive if you are tired, under the influence of alcohol or taking medications that specifically say, "Do not operate heavy equipment."
4. Leave space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Riding someone's bumper is dangerous because if someone hits you from behind or the person in front of you breaks quickly you are asking for trouble.
5. There are traffic lights for reason, follow them. Running traffic lights not only put you in danger but the others around you as well.
6. Keep your headlights on at all times, having your headlights on is important because cars can see your car better.
7. Follow the speed limit, I know this is hard but there is a limit for a reason. Millions of accidents are speed related.
8. Use your directional flashers, not letting fellow drivers know where you are about to go is dangerous.
9. Make sure you are only driving, not talking on the phone, balancing your checkbook, putting on make-up, etc...
10. Pay attention to road conditions, if they are bad-don't drive.
11. Make sure you are well rested, many accidents are caused because people fall asleep behind the wheel.
12. Use your mirrors; they are there to help you navigate.
13. Traffic signs are very important but people don't always follow them. If the sign says no U-turn, do not do one!
14. Make sure you know where you are going. Often drivers who are going somewhere new are trying to read a map and drive at the same time. When you are driving, that is all you should be concentrating on.
15. Street racing is a huge no no! If you want to race go to a race track, it is not fair to endanger other drives because you want to race.
16. Use your manners when driving, aggressive drivers are more likely to be involved in or cause an accident.
17. Make sure you can see when driving, if you need glasses to drive -then use them. Please, no sunglasses on in the evening; looking cool is not worth endangering someone else's life or your own.
18. Most important, take your time and pay attention to the road. Vehicles are thousands of pounds and are capable of causing large amounts of damage.
Published by Michelle Power
More safety tips for drivers
A good Traffic Safety Guide for every driver and pedestrian
Driving to Safety: The Car Owner’s Guide to Emergency Evacuation
Wildlife Collision Prevention
How Self-Driving Cars Will Change Everything About a City
10 Deadliest Driving Distractions
Driving in Snow and Ice
The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it.
Don't go out until the snow plows and sanding trucks have had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination.
If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is prepared (TIPS), and that you know how to handle road conditions.
It's helpful to practice winter driving techniques in a snowy, open parking lot, so you're familiar with how your car handles. Consult your owner's manual for tips specific to your vehicle.
Driving safely on icy roads
- Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
- Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
- Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
- Keep your lights and windshield clean.
- Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
- Don't use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
- Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
- Don't pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you're likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
- Don't assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.
If your rear wheels skid...
- Take your foot off the accelerator.
- Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer left. If they're sliding right, steer right.
- If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely under control.
- If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
- If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse — this is normal.
- If your front wheels skid...
- Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don't try to steer immediately.
- As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then put the transmission in "drive" or release the clutch, and accelerate gently.
If you get stuck...
- Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
- Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
- Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.
- Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.
- Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction.
- Try rocking the vehicle. (Check your owner's manual first — it can damage the transmission on some vehicles.) Shift from forward to reverse, and back again. Each time you're in gear, give a light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets going.
Sources: National Safety Council, New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, Washington State Government Information & Services