questions to ask a lawyer after a car accident

What New York Laws Traffic Laws Apply to Pedestrians?

Almost every city in New York is teeming with pedestrians. The large number of people on foot in busy cities helps ease crowded streets, but the high volume of cars in close proximity to a high volume of people results in a large number of accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians each year. To keep them safe, New York enacted a number of traffic laws designed to guide both pedestrian and motorist behavior. However, when an accident occurs compliance (or non-compliance) with these laws may provide evidence of negligence or, in other cases, excuse the conduct of another party.

Guide for Pedestrian Behavior

There is a long list of rules designed to help protect pedestrians. If, however, an accident occurs and a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, failing to abide by these laws could hurt their chance of prevailing in a personal injury lawsuit. 

  • Pedestrians Must Obey Traffic-Control Signals – just like cars, pedestrians must obey traffic lights. This means not crossing a street against a red light.
  • Pedestrians Have Crosswalk Right-of-Way – pedestrians generally have the right of way at both marked and unmarked crosswalks at an intersection even if no traffic lights are present. However, pedestrians are prohibited from stepping off a curb suddenly and into the path of a vehicle on the street that is unable to reasonably yield in time. 
  • Pedestrians Must Yield Right-of-Way to Vehicles on the Road – Pedestrians must yield their right-of-way to vehicles on the road if there is no crosswalk or the pedestrian is approaching an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. Pedestrians are also prohibited from crossing through an intersection diagonally unless there is a marked diagonal crosswalk present, an official traffic control device indicates it is permitted, or specifically permitted by a law enforcement officer to do so. 
  • Blind Pedestrians – Because vehicles approaching a crosswalk or intersection must yield to any pedestrian with a guide dog or cane that is metallic or white, indicating visual impairment, no pedestrian who is not blind or visually impaired may use a cane of either color. 
  • Pedestrians on the Roadway – Pedestrians may not walk in the road if sidewalks are available and may be safely used; pedestrians must walk on the left side of the road facing oncoming traffic and move as far left as possible when vehicles approach.
  • Soliciting Rides or Business – No pedestrian may enter or stand in the road when soliciting a taxi, bus, or rideshare ride. They also may not enter the road to either buy from or sell to a vehicle occupant.

Contact a Long Island Personal Injury Attorney

Pedestrians are given numerous rights and protections when moving about the city; however, there are also laws they must follow to preserve their right to successfully recover any personal injury damages to which they’re entitled. To learn more about pedestrian laws or, if you’ve been injured in an accident, find out if you may have a claim for compensation, contact the experienced Long Island personal injury attorneys at the Falkowitz Law Firm, PLLC. Contact us 24/7 at (844)-385-4279 or by completing our online Contact Page to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Let us use our knowledge, skill, and resources to answer your questions, evaluate your potential claim, and get started today.

Gary P. Falkowitz is the Managing Partner and Founding Attorney of the Falkowitz Law Firm PLLC‚ one of the premiere personal injury law firms in New York. Gary received his J.D., in 2005 from St. John’s University School of Law and served as an Assistant District Attorney with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.

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