The Colonie Police Department has employed extra personnel to patrol Central Avenue this week in an effort to promote pedestrian safety. Particularly, the police will be focusing their patrols between Colonie Center and the Northway Malls. This stretch of road is particularly busy and can be up to 6 lanes across in some areas making it dangerous for pedestrians who share the road with motorists. Police plan to stop and cite drivers and pedestrians who violate the law to make citizens more aware of pedestrian safety.
Many drivers are aware of some violations they could receive – speeding, failing to stop at a red light, disobeying a traffic control device, etc. But some other violations are not well known. Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, an officer may ticket a driver for failing to yield right of way for a pedestrian in a crosswalk with no signals. Under the same statute, a driver coming from the rear of a vehicle who has stopped for a pedestrian is forbidden to overtake or pass that vehicle. But New York does not leave pedestrians immune from receiving tickets. A pedestrian may not “suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield. “ Additionally, a pedestrian must yield the right of way to all vehicles, if they are crossing a roadway at any point other than a marked cross walk. If violated, all of these situations, whether you’re a driver or pedestrian, could earn you a citation from the police.
This action by Colonie Police comes about after the death of 16-year-old Brittany Knight, who was struck by a vehicle crossing I-787 in Cohoes. Colonie has had a history of similar crashes, especially on this stretch of road. Last year, five people were killed attempting to cross Central Avenue, which runs through Colonie from Albany. Just this year, two pedestrians have already died attempting to do the same.
The State recently agreed to invest $110 million over the next five years in New York to address pedestrian safety. They plan to visit all 200,000 crosswalks, which do not have signals, in the state. On Central Avenue, the Department of Transportation has implemented “a high median with a fence to stop people from getting off a CDTA bus there and crossing mere feet from a signalized crosswalk.” The median should encourage pedestrians to use the crosswalk, rather than cross on their own, to ensure they will safely walk across the street.
Although no one enjoys being ticketed for a violation, sometimes it is important to be reminded of the rules of the road and why we have them.
Drivers and pedestrians alike should understand these laws in order to not only protect themselves, but also to protect others. The cost of a ticket is worth far less than the cost of your life. Here at LaMarche Safranko Law, we represent pedestrians, bicyclists, and runners, who have suffered personal injury, or the families of those who have been killed after being struck by a vehicle. If you or someone you know has been involved in a pedestrian accident, contact us today for a free consultation.
1 VTL § 1151 (2016).
4 VTL § 1152 (2016).
5 Tim Obrien, Police launch Central Ave. pedestrian safety enforcement effort, Times Union (June 29, 2016).