Press Release - 05-04-2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 4, 2017
DMV Encourages Bikers and Pedestrians to Follow the Rules of the Road this Spring
Motorists Reminded to Share the Road
The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) today reminded people enjoying warmer weather to be sure they are on the proper side of the road when they bike, walk or skate. Pedestrians, skateboarders and joggers should use sidewalks when they are available. When sidewalks are not available, they should travel facing traffic in the lane nearest to them. Bicyclists are to travel in the same direction as other vehicles. These rules are meant to increase safety, heighten visibility and reduce crashes.
“This is a wonderful time of the year for people to go out and get some exercise,” said GTSC Acting Chair and DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan. “We can all be safer if we follow the rules of the road and recognize that pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers all have a right to use our roads and should do so safely.”
Pedestrians and skateboarders who are legally crossing the road and obeying traffic signals at marked or unmarked crossings, like an intersection, always have the right-of-way. Drivers must decrease speed or, if necessary, come to a complete stop. The elderly and persons with disabilities can require additional time to complete their crossing so please exercise patience.
A special right-of-way law allows blind pedestrians to go across the road with a guide dog or a white or metal cane. You must always give them the right-of-way when they are trying to cross at a marked or unmarked crosswalk, even if the traffic signals or other right-of-way rules are not in their favor.
Bicyclists and in-line skaters, like drivers of other vehicles, must ride with the traffic. Riding toward oncoming traffic creates the risk of a head-on crash and serious injury. If there is a bicycle or skating lane, riders must use it.
Drivers should check their blind spots before making a turn, parallel parking, opening a door or leaving a curb. Motorists should not depend only on their mirrors. They should turn their heads to look for bicyclists, skaters and scooter operators who may be next to them or approaching. Motorists should also give bicyclists room and reduce speed when passing them. Air pressure from a vehicle that passes riders quickly can send them off balance.
The New York State Departments of Transportation and Health have teamed up with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee on a first-of-its-kind pedestrian safety campaign in New York State. Announced by Governor Cuomo last year, it provides a $110 million, five-year commitment to improving pedestrian safety across Upstate New York and Long Island through engineering, enforcement and education.
“Safety is the New York State Department of Transportation’s top priority, and our team of experts balances the safety of drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists in every road and bridge we design. But it can’t stop there,” said DOT Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll. “Keeping people safe on the roads is a shared responsibility, and whether we’re walking, biking, or driving, we all need to do our part by obeying the rules and looking out for each other.”
“We all play a role in keeping pedestrian-related traffic injuries and fatalities to a minimum. Understanding traffic safety rules and following them whether you’re in a car, on a bike, or on foot, ensures that we can all safely enjoy a shared roadway.” said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.
The “See and Be Seen” campaign includes training for law enforcement and public safety educational material. For more information on pedestrian safety or to print out educational posters, brochures and other material.
Preliminary data from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee showed thirty-one percent of those killed in motor vehicle crashes, 310, were pedestrians and 4 percent were bicyclists. The preliminary data shows 45 percent of the pedestrian fatalities occurred in New York City, 33 percent upstate and 22 percent on Long Island.
The reminder to watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists comes as students gear up for National Bike to School Day May 10 and adults prepare for National Bike to Work Week May 15-19.
The law requires bicyclists, skaters and scooter riders ages 14 and younger to wear a helmet, although it’s a good idea for all cyclists and skaters to do so. Any parent or guardian whose child violates the helmet law is subject to a fine of up to $50. Bicyclists, skateboarders and scooter rides face significantly higher risk of traumatic brain injury and death when not wearing a helmet. Nationally, 85,000 bicyclists and 23,000 skateboarders and scooter riders suffer traumatic brain injuries each year.
Never operate a bicycle wearing headphones, talking on a cell phone or text messaging as they can be a deadly distraction.
Bicyclists also should use hand signals. Hand signals tell motorists and pedestrians what you intend to do. It’s not only required by law, it is a matter of courtesy and of self-protection.
Bicycles are legally required to have a bell, horn or other device that can be heard at least 100 feet away.
When riding at night, New York State law requires you to have a white headlight visible from at least 500 feet ahead and a red rear reflector or taillight visible up to 300 feet from behind.
More information on bicycle safety, is available at the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee bicycle safety page.