Pedestrian Vehicle and Traffic Laws

 In 2015, there were 3,672 pedestrian crashes in New York State.

The New York State Department of Transportation has a number of pedestrian safety initiatives to promote the vehicle and traffic laws that will keep New Yorkers Safe.

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All information sourced from the New York State Department of Transportation.

Pedestrian Vehicle and Traffic Laws

 

110. Crosswalk. (a) That part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway between the curbs or, in the absence of curbs, between the edges of the traversable roadway. (b) Any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface.

130. Pedestrian. Any person afoot or in a wheelchair.

1112. Pedestrian-control signal indications. Whenever pedestrians are controlled by pedestrian- control signals exhibiting the words “WALK” or “DON’T WALK”, or exhibiting symbols of a walking person or upraised hand, such signals shall indicate and apply to pedestrians as follows: (a) Steady WALK or walking person. Pedestrians facing such signal may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal and shall be given the right of way by other traffic. (b) Flashing DON’T WALK or upraised hand. No pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of such signal, but any pedestrians who have partially completed their crossing on the WALK or walking person signal shall proceed to a sidewalk or safety island while the flashing DON’T WALK or upraised hand signal is showing. (c) Steady DON’T WALK or upraised hand. No pedestrians shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of such signal, but any pedestrians who have partially completed their crossing on the WALK or flashing DON’T WALK signal shall proceed to a sidewalk or safety island while the steady DON’T WALK signal is showing.

1142. Vehicle entering stop or yield intersection. (a) Except when directed to proceed by a police officer, every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign shall stop as required by section eleven hundred seventy-two and after having stopped shall yield the right of way to any vehicle which has entered the intersection from another highway or which is approaching so closely on said highway as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when such driver is moving across or within the intersection. (b) The driver of a vehicle approaching a yield sign shall in obedience to such sign slow down to a speed reasonable for existing conditions, or shall stop if necessary as provided in section eleven hundred seventy-two, and shall yield the right of way to any pedestrian legally crossing the roadway on which he is driving, and to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time such driver is moving across or within the intersection. Provided, however, that if such driver is involved in a collision with a pedestrian in a crosswalk or a vehicle in the intersection after driving past a yield sign without stopping, such collision shall be deemed prima facie evidence of his failure to yield the right of way.

1146. Drivers to exercise due care. (a) Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law to the contrary, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicyclist, pedestrian or domestic animal upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary. For the purposes of this section, the term “domestic animal” shall mean domesticated sheep, cattle, and goats which are under the supervision and control of a pedestrian. (refer to subdivisions (b), (c), (d), (e) of Section 1146 for specific violations)

1150. Pedestrians subject to traffic regulations. Pedestrians shall be subject to traffic-control signals as provided in section eleven hundred eleven of this title, but at all other places pedestrians shall be accorded the privileges and shall be subject to the restrictions stated in this article.

1151. Pedestrians’ right of way in crosswalks. (a) When traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk on the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling except that any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overpass has been provided shall yield the right of way to all vehicles. (b) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield. (c) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.

1151-a. Pedestrians’ right of way on sidewalks. The driver of a vehicle emerging from or entering an alleyway, building, private road or driveway shall yield the right of way to any pedestrian approaching on any sidewalk extending across such alleyway, building entrance, road or driveway.

1152. Crossing at other than crosswalks. (a) Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway. (b) Any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway. (c) No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic-control devices; and, when authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the official traffic-control devices pertaining to such crossing movements.

1156. Pedestrians on roadways. (a) Where sidewalks are provided and they may be used with safety it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent roadway. (b) Where sidewalks are not provided any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall when practicable walk only on the left side of the roadway or its shoulder facing traffic which may approach from the opposite direction. Upon the approach of any vehicle from the opposite direction, such pedestrian shall move as far to the left as is practicable.

 

Pedestrian Signals

Pedestrian signals consist of the illuminated words WALK and DON'T WALK, or the illuminated symbols of a walking person and an upraised hand. The meanings of the indications are as follows:

  • A steady, illuminated WALK display, or a steady illuminated symbol of a walking person, means that a pedestrian may enter the roadway and proceed in the direction of the indication.

  • A flashing, illuminated DON'T WALK display, or a flashing illuminated symbol of an upraised hand, means that a pedestrian may not start to cross the roadway in the direction of the indication, but any pedestrian who has partly completed the crossing during the steady WALK indication may continue across.

  • A steady, illuminated DON'T WALK display, or a steady illuminated symbol of an upraised hand, means that a pedestrian cannot legally enter the roadway.

*It is important to note that in most locations the WALK indication is not displayed for the entire time required to safely cross the street. When driving, be aware that pedestrians will most likely still legally be in the crosswalk when the DON’T WALK sign is flashing and you should slow down or stop if necessary to give them time to finish crossing the street.

 

Tips for Pedestrians

Be safe and be seen: Make yourself visible to drivers

  • Wear clothing and accessories that incorporate retro-reflective materials when walking at night or during other low-light situations, such as rainy or foggy weather.

  • Carry a flashlight when walking at night.

  • Cross the street only in well-lit areas at night.

  • When crossing the street, make eye contact with drivers to be sure they see you.

  • Never begin crossing in front of a parked vehicle.

Be smart and alert: Avoid dangerous behaviors

  • Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.

  • Stay sober; walking while impaired increases your chance of being struck.

  • Don't assume a vehicle will stop; make eye contact with the driver and don't just look at the vehicle. If a driver is on a cell phone or texting, he or she may not be paying enough attention to drive safely.

  • Don't rely solely on pedestrian signals; scan for approaching vehicles before you cross the road.

  • Be alert to engine noise or backup lights on cars when in parking lots and near on-street parking spaces.

Be careful at crossings: Look before you step

  • Cross streets at marked crosswalks or intersections, if possible.

  • Obey pedestrian traffic signals such as WALK/DON'T WALK signs.

  • Look left, right and left again before crossing a street.

  • Watch for turning vehicles; make sure the driver sees you and will stop for you.

  • Look across ALL lanes you must cross and visually clear each lane before proceeding. Just because you see one motorist stop, do not presume drivers in other lanes can see you and will stop for you.

  • Don't wear headphones or talk on a cell phone while crossing the street.

 

Tips for Drivers

Be alert: Watch for pedestrians at all times

  • Scan the road and the sides of the road ahead for pedestrians.

  • Before making a turn, look in all directions for pedestrians crossing.

  • Don't drive after consuming alcohol or other drugs.

  • Do not use your cell phone or text while driving.

  • Look carefully behind your vehicle for approaching pedestrians, especially small children, before backing up.

  • For maximum visibility, keep your windshield clean and headlights on.

Be responsible: Yield to pedestrians at crossings

  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, whether marked or unmarked.

  • Yield to pedestrians when making right or left turns at intersections.

  • Do not block or park in crosswalks.

  • Always stop for a school bus with flashing red lights.  

Be patient: Drive the speed limit and avoid aggressive maneuvers

  • Never pass or overtake a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians.

  • Obey speed limits and come to a complete stop at STOP signs.

  • Use extra caution when driving near children playing along the street or older pedestrians who may not see or hear you.

  • Always be prepared to stop for pedestrians.