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Office of Traffic Safety

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Bike and Pedestrian Safety

The Facts About Bike and Pedestrian Safety

Each year in Minnesota, approximately 48 pedestrians and eight bicyclists are killed as a result of collisions with motor vehicles (2016-2020).

During this time period:

  • 71 percent of these fatal crashes occurred in urban areas
  • 38 percent of pedestrians and 35 percent of bicyclists killed had consumed alcohol
  • The most common contributing factor attributed to the pedestrian was darting or dashing into the roadway

Share the Road with Bicyclists

Bicyclists and motorists are equally responsible for bicycle safety. The number-one factor contributing to bicycle-vehicle collisions is failure to yield the right-of-way — by bicyclists and drivers alike.

About one-half of all bicycle-vehicle collisions are due to a variety of bicyclist behaviors, such as disregarding a traffic sign or signal. The other half are caused by vehicle driver behaviors, such as inattention and distraction.

Rules of the Road and Safety Tips

  • Bicyclists may ride on all Minnesota roads, except where restricted.
  • Bicyclists should ride on the road, and must ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • Motorists must at all times maintain a three-foot clearance when passing a bicyclist.
  • Bicyclists must obey all traffic control signs and signals, just as motorists.
  • Bicyclists must signal their turns and should ride in a predictable manner.
  • Bicyclists must use a headlight and rear reflectors when it's dark. To increase visibility, add a rear flashing light.
  • Drivers must drive at safe speeds and be attentive — look for bicyclists, check blind spots.
  • Drivers should use caution and look twice for riders when turning.
  • Drivers should use caution when opening door upon parking on side of road.


Is Your Helmet Fitted Correctly?

Learn how to properly fit your helmet.


Pedestrians Safety Is a Two-Way Street

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.
  • 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.

Pedestrian Safety Is Everyone's Responsibility

Failure to yield the right-of-way and driver inattention/distraction are the main contributing factors in pedestrian crashes. Follow these basic safety tips to prevent pedestrian-vehicle crashes.

Safety Tips for Drivers

  • Scan the road and sidewalks ahead for pedestrians. Drive attentively and at safe speeds. Remember, pedestrians can be difficult to see, especially in bad weather or at night.

  • Anticipate pedestrians especially in urban areas, around schools and colleges.

  • Before making a turn, look in all directions 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.

  • Stop for crossing pedestrians at every intersection, even those without crosswalks or stoplights.  Stop far enough back so drivers in other lanes can also see the pedestrian in time to stop.

  • Do not block crosswalks while stopped, and don’t pass other vehicles stopped for pedestrians.

Safety Tips for Pedestrians

  • Cross streets at marked crosswalks or intersections; don’t cross mid-block and obey traffic signals.

  • 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.

  • Continue to be alert and watch for vehicles when walking in a crosswalk — drivers aren't always looking for pedestrians.

  • Use sidewalks where provided — where no sidewalks are provided, it is usually safer to walk facing traffic.

  • Make it easy for drivers to see you — dress in light colors and wear retro-reflective material. Carry a flashlight when it’s dark.

  • Alcohol and drugs can impair your ability to walk safely, just like they do a person's ability to drive.

  • Use extra caution when crossing multiple-lane, higher speed streets.

Letter to Editor

Child Pedestrian Safety Curriculum

A National Highway Traffic Safety curriculum was developed to teach and encourage practice in safe pedestrian behaviors for students at the elementary level. It is organized into five lessons that target the main areas of pedestrian safety:

  • Walking near traffic

  • Crossing streets and intersections

  • Parking lot safety

  • School bus stop

  • School bus safety