Pedestrian Rights in New York City: What Every Driver MUST Know

New York City is a bustling metropolis with millions of pedestrians navigating its streets every day. As a driver, understanding and respecting pedestrian rights is not only crucial for safety but also for avoiding legal trouble. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know:

1. Pedestrians Have the Right of Way… Most of the Time

  • Crosswalks: Always yield to pedestrians in marked or unmarked crosswalks, even if they haven’t completely stepped off the curb yet. This applies even if you have a green light.
  • Intersections: When turning, always look for pedestrians and yield to them, even if you have the green light. Pedestrians have the right of way at intersections with or without crosswalks.
  • Entering/Exiting Driveways: Be extra cautious when entering or exiting driveways, alleys, or parking lots. Pedestrians always have the right of way in these situations.

2. Don’t Block the Box (Crosswalk)

Never stop your vehicle within a crosswalk, even if there are no pedestrians present. Blocking the box forces pedestrians to walk around your car, putting them in danger.

3. Stop for Pedestrians with Disabilities

Always stop for pedestrians using a cane, walker, or guide dog. These individuals often need more time to cross the street safely.

4. Stay Alert for Jaywalkers

While jaywalking is illegal, it’s unfortunately common in NYC. As a driver, you still have a duty to exercise caution and avoid hitting pedestrians, even if they are not crossing at a designated area.

5. No Honking or Aggressive Driving

Honking at pedestrians or engaging in aggressive driving behavior is not only rude but can also be considered a form of harassment.

What Happens If You Don’t Follow the Rules?

Failing to yield to pedestrians can result in:

  • Traffic Tickets: Fines and points on your license.
  • Civil Liability: If you hit a pedestrian, you could be held liable for their injuries, medical expenses, and other damages.
  • Criminal Charges: In severe cases, you could face criminal charges if your actions result in serious injury or death.

Have You Been Injured by a Negligent Driver?

If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident due to a driver’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation. The Law Offices of Michael T. Ridge have extensive experience in handling pedestrian accident cases and can help you get the justice you deserve.

Contact us today for a free consultation!

Remember: Sharing the road safely is everyone’s responsibility. By being mindful of pedestrian rights and driving responsibly, you can help prevent accidents and keep New York City’s streets safe for everyone.

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