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Police urge caution, increase enforcement at crosswalks
As students head back to school and the amount of daylight wanes, the Plymouth Police Department will step up enforcement of crosswalks laws at intersections throughout the city. The extra enforcement is part of a broader effort to remind drivers and pedestrians to be cautious around crosswalks.
The Plymouth Police Department’s traffic unit proactively monitors roadway safety year-round using data gathered through its Crash Reduction Program. The department also follows up on resident reports of crosswalk safety concerns and other traffic safety issues.
Crosswalk Safety Requires Pedestrian, Motorist Cooperation
“There needs to be cooperation between pedestrians and motorists,” said Plymouth Police Capt. Michael Reed. “Pedestrians should wear brightly colored clothing — especially this time of year, when it starts getting darker earlier.”
Motorists need to lookout for pedestrians crossing roads at all intersections, including those that are marked, unmarked or have flashing amber signs.
State law dictates that the driver of a vehicle must stop and yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian at intersections. Pedestrians have the right-of-way at intersections, though they do not have the right-of-way when crossing mid-block. Walkers and runners are also reminded not to cross anywhere but intersections or designated crosswalks.
Pedestrians should allow a safe and adequate distance for a vehicle to recognize them and stop before they enter the crosswalk. They should also be sure that all lanes of traffic have stopped before crossing.
“Pedestrians can’t expect a vehicle traveling at high speeds to stop on a dime,” said Reed. “Pedestrians should clearly indicate their intentions to cross and be sure they are seen.”
Eye Contact is Essential
“Motorists and pedestrians need to do their part and approach crosswalks responsibly,” said Plymouth City Engineer Chris LaBounty. “Eye contact between the driver and pedestrian is essential to ensure a safe crossing.”
Although city crews trim obstructive vegetation along problem areas as needed throughout the year, pedestrians and motorists should be extra cautious when crossing a street with a median that contains thick brush. Brush limits visibility and makes it harder for pedestrians and motorists to see each other.
MnDOT Guidelines for Crosswalk Safety
Motorists and pedestrians are advised to follow the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s guidelines on safely crossing streets, which include:
- Make eye contact with drivers and ensure they see you and will stop
- Clearly show your intentions to cross
- Look across all lanes for moving vehicles before proceeding
- Wear brightly colored clothing and reflective material
- Cross streets at marked crosswalks or intersections – don’t cross mid-block
- Stop for crossing pedestrians at every intersection, even those without crosswalks or stop lights
- Leave lots of room between you and the pedestrian when stopping
- Scan the road and sides of the road ahead for pedestrians
- 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
Residents who would like to recommend an area for targeted traffic enforcement may email the Plymouth Police Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.