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Common questions about pedestrian and bicycle laws in NYC

As you know, New Yorkers are always on the go. Every day the streets are littered with cars, taxis, bicycles, tourists as well as pedestrians, all of whom are trying their best to maneuver through crowds of people and busy intersections. Getting where you need to be in a jam-packed city like New York can be very difficult at times.

You don’t have a car, so unless you you’re paying for taxis or riding the subway, you’re either walking or biking to your destination. As a resident of the city, you understand the daily hustle, the short-cuts to work and how the city typically operates on a given day. You feel comfortable crossing the streets quickly to beat oncoming traffic but get angry when drivers don’t give you the right-of-way when they’re supposed to.

Why do New Yorkers need to be more engaged with pedestrian laws?

Each year, there’s an average of 300 pedestrian fatalities in the state of New York. That’s a pretty terrifying number for a city that’s considered to be one of the most walkable cities in the U.S.

What are the traffic laws for pedestrians?

Pedestrians must comply with traffic control signs and signals when crossing the street.

Pedestrians are not permitted on interstate highways or expressways.

Do pedestrians have the right-of-way on a crosswalk?

Yes, drivers must yield to pedestrians at a crosswalk.

Can pedestrians cross if there isn’t a crosswalk?

If a pedestrian approaches a street without a crosswalk or mid-block intersection, they must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the road before crossing.

What are the traffic laws for bicyclists?

Bicyclists must comply with traffic control signs and signals; they are required to signal all turns whether riding on a bike lane, bike path or roadway.

Bicyclists are permitted to share the roadway with other vehicles when a bike lane is not present.

Motorists must yield the right-of-way to bicyclists sharing the road, just as they would for other vehicles.

When sharing the road, bicyclists may ride on the right shoulder or as far to the right as possible.

What equipment is required for bicyclists?

All street bicycles are required to have the following:

A steady break that will make your bike tires skid on dry pavement.

A horn or bell that if used, can be heard at least a hundred feet away.

Bicyclists riding between sunset and sunrise must have a white front headlight visible at least 500 feet in the dark and a red taillight visible at least 300 feet. One of your two lights must also be visible at least 200 feet on each side.

Staying safe out there

When you live in a city that’s full of people and always moving, it’s crucial to understand and comply with all traffic laws. It’s also important to be realistic about the fact that some people willfully ignore laws to suit their selfish needs. Protect yourself on the streets by staying alert and watching out for those around you.

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