Local pedestrians not treated so 'Minnesota nice'

Violators of state law may be tagged with $179 fines
Star Herald Editorial

Drivers in Luverne need to take notice.

Pedestrians always have the right of way.

If drivers don’t stop and let pedestrians cross the road, they could be subject to a fine.

And if the crossing lights are malfunctioning, it’s not an excuse.

On a daily basis Sheriff Evan Verbrugge is contacted about malfunctioning pedestrian crossing lights on Highway 75 at Dodge Street, Barck Avenue and, most recently, near Veterans Drive.

There may be some bugs in the system, but it still comes down to following state law.

“We are blaming the lights and the lights are not the problem,” Verbrugge stated last week.

We couldn’t agree more.

After almost a decade of planning and negotiating with state officials, two yellow rapidly flashing lights were installed earlier this year to alert drivers to pedestrians near the school campus.

The lights were the most economical for traffic to flow and the safest option for pedestrians.

The idea is to slow down and keep your eyes open.

Sometimes the lights flash when there’s not a pedestrian at the crosswalk, and technicians are working on the glitch.

Simply proceed with caution.

The same law applies to other crosswalks in Luverne.

Our Main Street is enjoying more pedestrian activity and they, too, have the right to cross at the intersections before drivers proceed.

Pedestrians: please use the crosswalks, and please exercise common sense.

Drivers: if you fail to slow and/or stop for a pedestrian, you are subject to a $179 fine. Repeated violations mean a more severe fine.

The pedestrian law is simple and hinges on basic courtesy, and it could mean saving someone’s life.

Drivers’ inattention to pedestrian crossings has been having deadly consequences in Minnesota.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, 20 pedestrians have been killed this year as they cross a Minnesota street. This number is up from 13 a year ago.

The person killed was someone’s child, parent, sister, brother or grandparent.

It’s senseless that a person out enjoying the day was hit by a driver behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Sheriff Verbrugge thinks so, too.

He has directed his peace offices to more strongly enforce pedestrian safety laws by giving tickets.

Failing to yield to pedestrians is against the law.

Break the law, expect a ticket.

The alternative — the loss of a pedestrian life — is far worse.

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