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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

169.06 Signs, signals, markings.

Subdivision 1. Uniform system. The commissioner shall adopt a manual and specifications for a uniform system of traffic-control devices consistent with the provisions of this chapter for use upon highways within this state. Such uniform system shall correlate with and so far as possible conform to the system then current as approved by the American Association of State Highway Officials. The manual and specifications must include the design and wording of minimum-maintenance road signs. The adoption of the manual and specifications by the commissioner as herein provided is specifically exempted from chapter 14, including section 14.386.

Subd. 2. Placement and maintenance on trunk highway. (a) The commissioner shall place and maintain such traffic-control devices, conforming to the manual and specifications, upon all state trunk highways as the commissioner shall deem necessary to indicate and to carry out the provisions of this chapter or to regulate, warn, or guide traffic. The commissioner may construct and maintain signs at the entrance of each city, which sign shall have placed thereon the name of the city and the population thereof. The commissioner may construct and maintain other directional signs upon the trunk highways and such signs shall be uniform. The commissioner may authorize variations from the manual and specifications for the purpose of investigation and research into the use and development of traffic control devices. When such authorized variation pertains to the regulation of traffic, notice of the intended regulatory purpose shall be published in a qualified newspaper of general circulation in the area where the research is being conducted.

(b) No other authority shall place or maintain any traffic control device upon any highway under the jurisdiction of the commissioner except by the latter's permission.

Subd. 3. Placement and maintenance by local authority. Local authorities in their respective jurisdictions shall place and maintain such traffic-control devices upon highways under their jurisdiction as they may deem necessary to indicate and to carry out the provisions of this chapter or local traffic ordinances, or to regulate, warn, or guide traffic. All such traffic-control devices hereafter erected shall conform to the state manual and specifications.

Subd. 4. Obedience to traffic-control signal or flagger; presumptions. (a) The driver of any vehicle shall obey the instructions of any official traffic-control device applicable thereto placed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, unless otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer, subject to the exceptions granted the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle in this chapter.

(b) No provision of this chapter for which official traffic-control devices are required shall be enforced against an alleged violator if at the time and place of the alleged violation an official device is not in proper position and sufficiently legible to be seen by an ordinarily observant person. Whenever a particular section does not state that official traffic-control devices are required, such section shall be effective even though no devices are erected or in place.

(c) Whenever official traffic-control devices are placed in position approximately conforming to the requirements of this chapter, such devices shall be presumed to have been so placed by the official act or direction of lawful authority, unless the contrary shall be established by competent evidence.

(d) Any official traffic-control device placed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and purporting to conform to the lawful requirements pertaining to such devices shall be presumed to comply with the requirements of this chapter, unless the contrary shall be established by competent evidence.

(e) A flagger in a designated work zone may stop vehicles and hold vehicles in place until it is safe for the vehicles to proceed. A person operating a motor vehicle that has been stopped by a flagger in a designated work zone may proceed after stopping only on instruction by the flagger.

Subd. 5. Traffic-control signal. (a) Whenever traffic is controlled by traffic-control signals exhibiting different colored lights, or colored lighted arrows, successively one at a time or in combination, only the colors Green, Red, and Yellow shall be used, except for special pedestrian signals carrying a word legend, and said lights shall indicate and apply to drivers of vehicles and pedestrians as follows:

(1) Green indication:

(i) Vehicular traffic facing a circular green signal may proceed straight through or turn right or left unless a sign at such place prohibits either such turn. But vehicular traffic, including vehicles turning right or left, shall yield the right-of-way to other vehicles and to pedestrians lawfully within the intersection or adjacent crosswalk at the time such signal is exhibited.

(ii) Vehicular traffic facing a green arrow signal, shown alone or in combination with another indication, may cautiously enter the intersection only to make the movement indicated by such arrow, or such other movement as is permitted by other indications shown at the same time. Such vehicular traffic shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection.

(iii) Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian-control signal as provided in subdivision 6, pedestrians facing any green signal, except when the sole green signal is a turn arrow, may proceed across the roadway within any marked or unmarked crosswalk.

(2) Steady yellow indication:

(i) Vehicular traffic facing a circular yellow signal is thereby warned that the related green movement is being terminated or that a red indication will be exhibited immediately thereafter when vehicular traffic shall not enter the intersection, except for the continued movement allowed by any green arrow indication simultaneously exhibited.

(ii) Pedestrians facing a circular yellow signal, unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian control signal as provided in subdivision 6, are thereby advised that there is insufficient time to cross the roadway before a red indication is shown and no pedestrian shall then start to cross the roadway.

(iii) Vehicular traffic facing a steady yellow arrow signal is thereby warned that the protected vehicular movement permitted by the corresponding prior green arrow indication is being terminated.

(3) Steady red indication:

(i) Vehicular traffic facing a circular red signal alone shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if none, then before entering the intersection and shall remain standing until a green indication is shown, except as follows: (A) the driver of a vehicle which is stopped as close as practicable at the entrance to the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then at the entrance to the intersection in obedience to a red or stop signal, and with the intention of making a right turn may make such right turn, after stopping, unless an official sign has been erected prohibiting such movement, but shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and other traffic lawfully proceeding as directed by the signal at said intersection; or (B) the driver of a vehicle on a one-way street which intersects another one-way street on which traffic moves to the left shall stop in obedience to a red or stop signal and may then make a left turn into said one-way street, unless an official sign has been erected prohibiting the movement, but shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and other traffic proceeding as directed by the signal at said intersection.

(ii) Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian-control signal as provided in subdivision 6, pedestrians facing a steady red signal alone shall not enter the roadway.

(iii) Vehicular traffic facing a steady red arrow signal, with the intention of making a movement indicated by the arrow, shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if none, then before entering the intersection and shall remain standing until a permissive signal indication is displayed.

(b) In the event an official traffic-control signal is erected and maintained at a place other than an intersection, the provisions of this section are applicable except those which can have no application. Any stop required shall be made at a sign or marking on the pavement indicating where the stop shall be made, but in the absence of any such sign or marking the stop shall be made at the signal.

(c) When a traffic-control signal indication or indications placed to control a certain movement or lane are so identified by placing a sign near the indication or indications, no other traffic-control signal indication or indications within the intersection shall control vehicular traffic for such movement or lane.

Subd. 5a. Traffic control signal; override system. All electronic traffic control signals installed by a road authority on and after January 1, 1995, must be prewired to facilitate a later addition of a system that allows the operator of an authorized emergency vehicle to activate a green traffic signal for the vehicle.

Subd. 6. Pedestrian control signal. (a) Whenever special pedestrian-control signals exhibiting the words "Walk" or "Don't Walk" are in place such signals shall indicate as follows:

(1) "Walk," flashing or steady. Pedestrians facing such signals may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal.

(2) "Don't Walk," flashing or steady. No pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of such signals, but any pedestrian who has partially crossed on the "Walk" signal shall proceed to a sidewalk or safety island while the "Don't Walk" signal is showing.

(b) A pedestrian crossing a roadway in conformity with this section is lawfully within the intersection and, when in a crosswalk, is lawfully within the crosswalk.

Subd. 7. Flashing signal. When flashing red or yellow signals are used they shall require obedience by vehicular traffic as follows:

(a) When a circular red lens is illuminated with rapid intermittent flashes, drivers of vehicles shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection, and the right to proceed shall be subject to the rules applicable after making a stop at a stop sign.

(b) When a red arrow lens is illuminated with rapid intermittent flashes drivers of vehicles with the intention of making a movement indicated by the arrow shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection, and the right to proceed shall be subject to the rules applicable after making a stop at a stop sign.

(c) When a circular yellow lens is illuminated with rapid intermittent flashes, drivers of vehicles may proceed through the intersection or past the signals only with caution.

(d) When a yellow arrow indication is illuminated with rapid intermittent flashes, drivers of vehicles with the intention of making a movement indicated by the arrow may proceed through the intersection or past the signals only with caution.

Subd. 8. Lane-direction-control signal. When lane-direction-control signals are placed over individual lanes of a street or highway, vehicular traffic may travel in lanes as follows:

(a) Vehicular traffic facing a green arrow indication is permitted to drive in the lane over which the arrow signal is located.

(b) Vehicular traffic facing a red "X" indication shall not drive in the lane over which the signal is located.

(c) Vehicular traffic facing a steady yellow "X" indication is thereby warned that use of the lane over which the signal is located is being terminated, or that a red "X" indication will be exhibited immediately thereafter when vehicular traffic shall not drive in the lane.

(d) Vehicular traffic facing a yellow "X" indication illuminated with rapid intermittent flashes is permitted to use a lane over which the signal is located for a left turn or for a passing maneuver, using proper caution.

Subd. 9. Affirmative defense relating to unchanging traffic-control signal. (a) A person operating a motorcycle who violates subdivision 4 by entering or crossing an intersection controlled by a traffic-control signal against a red light has an affirmative defense to that charge if the person establishes all of the following conditions:

(1) the motorcycle has been brought to a complete stop;

(2) the traffic-control signal continues to show a red light for an unreasonable time;

(3) the traffic-control signal is apparently malfunctioning or, if programmed or engineered to change to a green light only after detecting the approach of a motor vehicle, the signal has apparently failed to detect the arrival of the motorcycle; and

(4) no motor vehicle or person is approaching on the street or highway to be crossed or entered or is so far away from the intersection that it does not constitute an immediate hazard.

(b) The affirmative defense in this subdivision applies only to a violation for entering or crossing an intersection controlled by a traffic-control signal against a red light and does not provide a defense to any other civil or criminal action.

HIST: (2720-160, 2720-161, 2720-162, 2720-163, 2720-164, 2720-165) 1937 c 464 s 10-15; 1939 c 413; 1941 c 419; 1947 c 428 s 5,6; 1955 c 325 s 1; 1957 c 369 s 1; 1961 c 31 s 1; 1963 c 357 s 2-4; 1965 c 31 s 1; 1965 c 51 s 23; 1965 c 133 s 1; 1969 c 876 s 1-6; 1971 c 17 s 1; 1973 c 123 art 5 s 7; 1975 c 49 s 1; 1982 c 424 s 130; 1985 c 215 s 2; 1986 c 444; 1993 c 115 s 1; 1994 c 635 art 1 s 11; 1995 c 233 art 2 s 56; 1997 c 159 art 2 s 19; 1997 c 187 art 5 s 24; 2002 c 371 art 1 s 42