Drivers need to brake for pedestrians

Published 11:08 am Thursday, November 13, 2008

I recently visited Albert Lea and Austin, and although I found most of the citizenry to be exceedingly cheerful and polite, I noticed a disturbing trend among the drivers of those two towns. Almost every time I attempted to cross a street on foot, drivers not only did not yield to me but didn’t even slow down. Even when I waved to them as if to say, “Hey, I’m in the middle of this crosswalk, please won’t you slow down and let me get to the other side?” they looked at me, shook their heads and kept on driving.

I have lived in both Los Angeles and Manhattan, two cities whose populations aren’t known for their politeness or concern for their fellow man, but I’ve never experienced such disregard for the rights and safety of pedestrians as in Albert Lea and Austin. It would seem that the drivers of these two towns aren’t aware that pedestrians in both marked and unmarked crosswalks have the right of way under Minnesota law, even when there is no stop sign, even when the driver is in a hurry. I know that southern Minnesota is a safe and nice place to live, but I think it would be a little safer and a little nicer if the Albert Lea and Austin police would start cracking down on drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians.

S. Lynn Becket

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Los Angeles, Calif.