Ask the Chief: Keep sidewalks navigable for all residents
"Ask The Chief" allows readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs and the department in general.
Submit your question to firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Because of my disability I have a motorized wheelchair that I use to get around the community, and my question is can I drive it on the street if there is no sidewalk available?
A: Yes, you can drive your motorized wheelchair in the road when crossing the street in a marked or unmarked crosswalk or where no sidewalk is available to gain access to a motor vehicle. Under Minnesota law, persons in wheelchairs are considered pedestrians rather than vehicle operators and have the same rights and responsibilities as pedestrians.
Minnesota Statute 169.212 OPERATION OF ELECTRIC PERSONAL ASSISTIVE MOBILITY DEVICES.
Subdivision 1.Rights and responsibilities of pedestrians. Except as otherwise provided by law, a person operating an electric personal assistive mobility device has the rights and responsibilities of a pedestrian.
(a) An electric personal assistive mobility device may be operated on a bicycle path.
(b) No person may operate an electric personal assistive mobility device on a roadway, sidewalk, or bicycle path at a rate of speed that is not reasonable and prudent under the conditions. Every person operating an electric personal assistive mobility device on a roadway, sidewalk, or bicycle path is responsible for becoming and remaining aware of the actual and potential hazards then existing on the roadway or sidewalk and must use due care in operating the device.
(c) An electric personal assistive mobility device may be operated on a roadway only:
(1) while making a direct crossing of a roadway in a marked or unmarked crosswalk;
(2) where no sidewalk is available;
(3) where a sidewalk is so obstructed as to prevent safe use;
(4) when so directed by a traffic-control device or by a peace officer; or
(5) temporarily in order to gain access to a motor vehicle.
(d) An electric personal assistive mobility device may not be operated at any time on a roadway with a speed limit of more than 35 miles per hour except to make a direct crossing of the roadway in a marked crosswalk.
(e) An electric personal assistive mobility device may not be operated at any time while carrying more than one person.
(f) A person operating an electric personal assistive mobility device on a sidewalk must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians at all times. A person operating an electric personal assistive mobility device on a bicycle path must yield the right-of-way to bicycles at all times.
An electric personal assistive mobility device may not be operated unless the device bears reflectorized material on the front, back, and wheels, visible at night from 600 feet when illuminated by the lower beams of headlamps of a motor vehicle.
The city of Red Wing is working to make our city more walkable. Please be respectful of our mobility-impaired pedestrians by keeping your sidewalks clear and useable for all our residents. If you observe someone that is parked, blocking a sidewalk feel free to let the Police Department know at 651-385-3155. Also, the City Sidewalk Plan has included the upgrade of ADA compliant access ramps throughout our community in the future.
1. Minnesota Statute 169.21, Pedestrians, found online at: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/169.21
2. Minnesota Statute 169.212, Operation of Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices, found online at: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/169.212