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2006 Minnesota Statutes

This is a historical version of this statute section. Also view the most recent published version.

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 or legend. The traffic-control signal lights or colored lighted arrows
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 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 this 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 the
arrow, or other movement as 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. Every driver of a vehicle shall
yield the right-of-way to such pedestrian, except that the pedestrian shall yield the right-of-way to
vehicles lawfully within the intersection at the time that the green signal indication is first shown.
(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 must 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 must 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 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 the
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 that intersection; or (B) the driver of a vehicle on a one-way street intersecting 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 the 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 lawfully
proceeding as directed by the signal at that 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, must 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 must remain standing until a permissive signal indication permitting the
movement indicated by the red arrow is displayed, except as follows: when an official sign has
been erected permitting a turn on a red arrow signal, the vehicular traffic facing a red arrow
signal indication is permitted to enter the intersection to turn right, or to turn left from a one-way
street into a one-way street on which traffic moves to the left, after stopping, but must yield
the right-of-way to pedestrians and other traffic lawfully proceeding as directed by the signal
at that intersection.
(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 must be made at a sign or marking on the pavement indicating
where the stop must be made, but in the absence of any such sign or marking the stop must
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 controls vehicular traffic
for that 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. 5b. Possession of traffic signal-override device. (a) For purposes of this subdivision,
"traffic signal-override device" means a device located in a motor vehicle that permits activation
of a traffic signal-override system described in subdivision 5a.
(b) No person may operate a motor vehicle that contains a traffic signal-override device,
other than:
(1) an authorized emergency vehicle described in section 169.01, subdivision 5, clause
(1), (2), or (3);
(2) a vehicle, including a rail vehicle, engaged in providing bus rapid transit service or
light rail transit service;
(3) a signal maintenance vehicle of a road authority; or
(4) a vehicle authorized to contain such a device by order of the commissioner of public
safety.
(c) No person may possess a traffic signal-override device, other than:
(1) a person authorized to operate a vehicle described in paragraph (b), clauses (1) and
(2), but only for use in that vehicle;
(2) a person authorized by a road authority to perform signal maintenance, while engaged in
such maintenance; or
(3) a person authorized by order of the commissioner of public safety to possess a traffic
signal-override device, but only to the extent authorized in the order.
(d) A violation of this subdivision is a misdemeanor.
    Subd. 6. Pedestrian control signal. (a) Whenever special pedestrian-control signals
exhibiting the words "Walk" or "Don't Walk" or symbols of a "walking person" or "upraised
hand" are in place, the signals or symbols indicate as follows:
(1) A steady "Walk" signal or the symbol of a "walking person" indicates that a pedestrian
facing either of these signals may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal,
possibly in conflict with turning vehicles. Every driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to
such pedestrian except that the pedestrian shall yield the right-of-way to vehicles lawfully within
the intersection at the time that either signal indication is first shown.
(2) A "Don't Walk" signal or the symbol of an "upraised hand," flashing or steady, indicates
that a pedestrian shall not start to cross the roadway in the direction of either signal, but any
pedestrian who has partially crossed on the "Walk" or "walking person" signal indication shall
proceed to a sidewalk or safety island while the 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.
History: (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; 2005 c 136 art 18 s 1; 1Sp2005 c 6 art 3 s 39,40

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