Who Has the Right of Way?

There are many traffic laws in New York that apply specifically to pedestrians, and we’re going to take a look. This post is split into two parts; each part discussing different sections of New York traffic code. The original language of these sections is pretty complex and often excessive, so we’re going to try to make it easier to understand.

With that in mind, here is a simple breakdown of New York traffic laws for a pedestrian. This is only a general guide, however, and you should speak to an experienced lawyer for advice on specific laws and concerns.

Traffic Code Section 1150 – Pedestrians must obey traffic-control signals

This section basically states that pedestrians need to follow traffic-control signals just like vehicles do. Specifically, this means that pedestrians are not allowed to cross against a red light, and similar limitations. Otherwise, pedestrians have privileges and restrictions based on the rest of the pedestrian codes.

Traffic Code Section 1151 – Pedestrians have the right-of-way at crosswalks

In this section, it is established that pedestrians have the right-of-way at marked crosswalks and unmarked crosswalks at intersections. Even if traffic signals are not in place, vehicles must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in a crosswalk, unless there is a tunnel or overpass for pedestrians. It also indicates that pedestrians are not allowed to suddenly step off a curb into the street in the path of a vehicle that cannot reasonable yield to them. Finally, this section states that if a vehicle stops to yield for a pedestrian to cross a road, other vehicles cannot pass the stopped vehicle.

Traffic Code Section 1151-a – Pedestrians have the right-of-way on sidewalks

This is an addition to the previous section and states that drivers coming out of or entering an alley or private road must yield to pedestrians approaching on a sidewalk that crosses their path. In other words, someone coming out of a parking garage or alley must yield to pedestrians on the sidewalk before entering traffic.

Traffic Code Section 1152 – Pedestrians must yield right-of-way to vehicles on the road

If there is no crosswalk, or an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, then pedestrians must yield to vehicles on the road. So while pedestrians have the right-of-way at crosswalks, vehicles are given the right-of-way just about everywhere else. Finally, this section indicates that pedestrians are not allowed to cross an intersection diagonally, unless allowed to do so by a police officer or official traffic-control device.

If you or a loved one has been struck as a pedestrian, you can call the NY pedestrian injury attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353.

Part 2 of this blog post is right here.

Posted in: Pedestrian Accident