Do Pedestrians Have the Right of Way in New York?

New York pedestrians are protected by the city’s right of way law. This statute makes it possible for accident victims to seek compensation for medical care, lost income, and other injury-related expenses. Get in touch with our New York City car accident lawyers today to discuss your legal options.

Keeping the city safe for all its residents

Research shows that 70% of New York residents either walk or ride public transit. The city has made great strides in recent years towards keeping these people safe as they move about town.

These efforts are in accord with the state Senate’s pedestrian safety laws, which stipulate three ironclad rules to govern pedestrian-motorist interactions:

  1. Pedestrians have the right of way at all marked crosswalks: The only exception to this rule is in locations where a dedicated pedestrian bridge or tunnel exists.
  2. Pedestrians must exercise common sense when crossing the street: Specifically, this means that a person on foot must never dash in front of a vehicle “so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield.”
  3. Drivers must never go around a vehicle that has stopped to allow a pedestrian to pass: For example, let’s say that a motorist stops at an intersection to allow a pedestrian to cross the street. Under New York law, the driver of the vehicle behind the stopped car must remain stopped as well until the pedestrian has passed.

Working towards greater pedestrian safety

In 2014,Mayor Bill DeBlasio launched his Vision Zero program, which focuses on reducing the number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities each year. It does so by relying on improved engineering, enforcement, and education mechanisms. Here’s what that means:

  • Better engineering: Such as making crosswalks more visibleand altering city streets to encourage multiple forms of transportation, including walking and using bicycles.
  • Better enforcement: Including the use of security cameras at intersections and other key points.
  • Better education: Spreading the word about pedestrian safety and encouraging drivers to keep an eye out for foot and bicycle traffic.

Noble intentions but mixed results

The Vision Zero initiative has raised public awareness and increased enforcement of city traffic laws. Despite these efforts, however, more than 3,000 pedestrian-vehicle collisions occur on city streets each year. The following facts tell a sobering story:

  • At least 114 New York pedestrians were killed by negligent drivers in 2019 alone: Including six who lost their lives in a three-day period during the holiday season.
  • Death by vehicle collision is the city’s leading cause of death among children age 14 or younger: It’s also the second leading cause of death among senior citizens.
  • Treating pedestrian and cyclist injuries cost the US economy more than $40 billion per year: Treating a single victim of one of these collisions can cost more than $400,000 over the person’s lifetime.

Doing your part to prevent pedestrian-vehicle collisions

Not every pedestrian-vehicle collision is caused by the motorist, of course. All of us must do our part to prevent accidents from occurring. Here are three timely tips with that in mind:

  1. Look both ways twice before crossing the street: Taking a second look before starting adds an extra measure of safety to your trips around town.
  2. Stick to marked crosswalks: Trying to cross the street at unmarked locations is not only illegal, it’s also dangerous.
  3. Wait until you’re seated or standing still to use your mobile device: Each year, thousands of pedestrians suffer needless injuries because they are distracted by their phones.

Sometimes all the caution in the world can’t stop a pedestrian-vehicle accident from occurring. When that happens, it’s essential to talk to a skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Here’s why:

  • To maximize your chances of receiving a fair settlement: Working with a law firm tells insurers and negligent drivers that you’re serious about getting every penny of the compensation you deserve.
  • To give you much-needed peace of mind: Knowing that a seasoned legal professional in on your side will help you to focus on your recovery and rehabilitation.
  • To connect you with expert care providers: Many law firms maintain close working relationships with top-of-the-line doctors, physical therapists, and rehabilitative specialists. Having the right people on your healthcare team can make all the difference in the world to your recovery.

Contact us at Douglas and London today

Our New York City personal injury lawyers here at Douglas and London have recovered more than $18 billion for our clients over the years. Consultations are always free. Contact us today so we can get to work on your case, so you can begin to rebuild your life.