Most of us in New York walk on a near-daily basis, even if we are just walking to the subway station or trying to hail a taxi. It can be tricky to know when pedestrians have the right of way when crossing the street. It is good for both motorists and pedestrians to have a basic understanding of traffic laws addressing pedestrians at intersections.
When does a pedestrian have the right of way?
At traffic signals with pedestrian crossing lights, motorists must yield to a pedestrian if the pedestrian is crossing when the signal indicates pedestrians may cross. When the pedestrian signal is flashing, pedestrians should make their way through the intersection if they are currently crossing. Motorists need not yield to pedestrians when the pedestrian crossing signal indicates pedestrians may not cross.
In areas where there is a crosswalk with traffic signals, but no pedestrian crossing lights, pedestrians may cross when the light is green in the direction that they want to head in. In areas where there is a crosswalk but no traffic signals for motorists or pedestrians, motorists must yield to pedestrians crossing at the intersection.
Pedestrians have the right of way at unmarked intersections. Otherwise, motorists have the right of way.
Pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility
Pedestrian safety is the responsibility of both pedestrians and motorists. Motorists must be aware of pedestrians at intersections and elsewhere on the road. Even if you are in a hurry, you may have to yield to pedestrians at intersections.
Pedestrians struck when crossing at intersections where they had the right of way can learn more about the possibility of pursuing a lawsuit based on negligence, especially if they suffered significant injuries as a result of the crash.