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Is it Illegal to Walk on the Highway in NY?

If you are walking around in New York, you may be unaware of the laws pertaining to pedestrians. In the Empire State, pedestrians are not allowed to walk on interstates or expressways. The rules are different for pedestrians that are walking on main roads, although pedestrians are instructed to proceed with caution.

In this blog, our NY personal injury lawyers discuss pedestrian laws in the state and ways to keep yourself safe when traveling by foot.

What is an Interstate Highway?

Interstate highways are freeways that cross over state lines. The United States interstate system is currently 46,876 miles long, allowing motorists to easily travel from one state to the next. Additionally, each state sets its own speed limits, with New York state allowing a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour on rural interstates and freeways.

NY Pedestrian Laws

NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law contains the following laws related to pedestrians:

  • §1150: Pedestrians must obey traffic signals when crossing the street.
  • §1151(a): The driver of a vehicle shall yield right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when traffic control signals are not available or not in operation.
  • §1153(a): Any driver approaching a crosswalk must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian who is using a guide dog or cane.
  • §1156(b): Any pedestrian walking along a highway must walk on the left side of the roadway or shoulder.
  • §1229-a: No person shall occupy space within a state express highway or interstate highway, including the entrance or exit ramps, unless directed to do so by a police officer.

Dangers of Walking on a Highway

Walking is deemed 36 times more dangerous than driving. With fast speeds and constant lane merging, pedestrians are in grave danger walking on a highway. The state of New York also makes it illegal for low-speed vehicles to enter a highway since this would place these motorists at risk of injury.

Pedestrians who violate New York traffic laws are subject to criminal charges, resulting in steep fines and potential imprisonment.

Pedestrian Safety Tips

To keep yourself safe while walking, pedestrians should take the following precautions:

  • Use sidewalks when they are available.
  • When no sidewalk is available, pedestrians should face opposing traffic and move over as far to the left as possible.
  • If no sidewalks, crosswalks, or signals are available, pedestrians should yield right-of-way to vehicles.
  • Wear light-colored clothing and reflective material to increase visibility in dim light and at night.
  • Establish eye contact to ensure that a driver sees you.

Speak with Our NY Personal Injury Lawyers Today

If you are planning on visiting New York, you will want to plan your trip accordingly. Part of this planning will include safely navigating the area. Do not be fooled; New York State is no stranger to “hustle and bustle.” For this reason, the state has strict regulations when it comes to pedestrians, which are implemented for your protection.

If you have suffered an injury while walking in the Empire State, our personal injury lawyers are ready to work for you. To schedule your consultation, contact us by phone or by filling out our online contact form. We offer free consultations scheduled at your convenience.