Question: I'm wondering if there are any specific laws or regulations for a horse and buggy on Minnesota roads? We have one that rides through our neighborhood. This week they flew by with kids getting on the bus, which I believe is illegal for an actual vehicle to do?

I did not witness this myself, but someone in our neighborhood Facebook group did. Just curious if there is any basis for asking them to not drive recklessly like this. Thank you.

Answer: In over 20 years with the Minnesota State Patrol, this is the first horse and buggy stop-arm violation I’ve heard about. But as I’ve said before, nothing surprises me.

Yes, even a horse and buggy must yield to a school bus displaying red flashing lights and/or its stop-arm is extended when approaching from the rear and from the opposite direction on undivided roads. Drivers must anticipate children in a school bus “danger zone” — the area around a bus where most injuries and deaths occur.

School bus safety tips for children:

  • When waiting for the bus: Be patient, stand back from road and no running or rowdy behavior.
  • When on the bus: Stay seated, listen to the driver and use quiet voices. It's important for parents to discuss and demonstrate pedestrian safety with their children and reinforce safe crossing after exiting a bus. Look to be sure no cars are passing on the shoulder (side of the road).
  • Before crossing the street, take five “giant steps” out from the front of the bus, or until the driver’s face can be seen. Wait for the driver to signal that it’s safe to cross. Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to make sure traffic is stopped. Keep watching traffic when crossing.

School bus safety tips for motorists:

  • Motorists must stop at least 20 feet from a school bus that is displaying red flashing lights and/or its stop-arm is extended when approaching from the rear and from the opposite direction on undivided roads.
  • Red flashing lights on buses indicates students are either entering or exiting the bus.
  • Motorists are not required to stop for a bus if the bus is on the opposite side of a separated roadway (median, etc.) — but they should remain alert for children.
  • Altering a route or schedule to avoid a bus is one way motorists can help improve safety. In doing so, motorists won’t find themselves behind a bus and as a result, potentially putting children at risk.
  • Watch for school crossing patrols and pedestrians. Reduce speeds in and around school zones.
  • Watch and stop for pedestrians. The law applies to all street corners, for both marked and unmarked crosswalks. Every corner is a crosswalk.

Send questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota to: Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol, 1000 Highway 10 W., Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. Follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at jesse.grabow@state.mn.us.