The Binghamton University campus becomes very active during the day with both vehicle
and pedestrian traffic, especially when classes are changing. Pedestrian and motorist
safety is a shared responsibility. Not following the laws, either by the pedestrian
or motorist, can be very dangerous — even deadly.
New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1151 governs the responsibilities of pedestrians and drivers as they relate to crosswalks.
What does this law mean for pedestrians and drivers?
It means that when a pedestrian is already within the crosswalk, the motorist must yield or stop. A motorist does not have to stop if a person is merely approaching the crosswalk, or signaling an intention to enter it, but only if a person is already in the crosswalk as the car is approaching. The law also prohibits pedestrians from suddenly stepping off the curb in front of a vehicle and walking into the path of the vehicle.
In both cases — the motorist failing to yield or the pedestrian stepping off the curb — police can issue a traffic ticket to the person violating the law. That includes the pedestrian who is also required to obey Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL §1150).
So, what is the solution?
It's simple. Whether you’re a pedestrian or a driver, know the law and abide by it. Drivers, be aware of driving conditions, especially on a crowded college campus. Pedestrians, use caution when crossing a roadway. Look both ways before crossing and don't be distracted by friends or the music in your earphones.
Pedestrians generally have the right of way in a crosswalk, but that right of way is not absolute and is frequently misunderstood. By understanding and respecting the law, both as drivers and pedestrians, our campus roadways will be safe for everyone.