Whenever motor vehicles, bike riders and pedestrians share the roads, there is an increased risk of injury. The law of the roads that is set forth in the New York Motor Vehicle and Traffic Law imposes obligations on drivers, bike riders and pedestrians which are intended to reduce the risk of an accident.
- Section 1156 of the Vehicle & Traffic Law requires pedestrians, when practical, to walk in the direction facing approaching traffic when there is no sidewalk, so that they are able to see oncoming traffic and move to the far left to avoid being hit.
- Section 1234 of the Vehicle & Traffic Law prohibits bike riders or roller bladers from riding more than two people side-by-side. The law also requires bike riders and roller bladers to stay as far to the right as possible to avoid interference with automobiles.
Bike riders have a right to be on the road, but many refuse to share the road with motor vehicles in a safe manner. This places the bide riders as well as the motor vehicle drivers at risk of a serious injury by causing motor vehicle drivers to get impatient and cross into on-coming traffic lanes to pass the bike riders, or by attempting to pass the bike riders too closely.
Whenever possible, bike riders should ride to the extreme right side of the road and drivers should pass by keeping a safe distance between their vehicles and the bike riders. Similarly, pedestrians should always cross at the crosswalk, but assume drivers will not obey the law and yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk. Pedestrians wearing dark clothing in the evening should also be mindful that drivers may have difficulty seeing them in low light conditions.