NEW YORK’S “VULNERABLE ROAD USER” LAWS
April 9, 2015 -
Wheels of Justice
What are “Vulnerable Road User” Laws?
Automobiles provide a shell of protection for their users – creating
a safety disparity between cars and other road users. There is a significant
difference between what occurs when a car is struck at 25 miles-per-hour
and what happens to a pedestrian or cyclist involved in the same collision.
While the percentage of motorist deaths has continued to fall on a national
level, the percentage of bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities has tragically grown.
Vulnerable Road User laws increase protection for bicyclists and other
road users who are not in cars. States have chosen to protect vulnerable
road users in a variety of ways. This usually involves 1) harsher penalties
for the violation of existing laws when that violation impacts a defined
set of road users or 2) the creation of new laws that prohibit certain
actions directed at a defined set of road users.
NY’s Vulnerable Road User Law: Haley and Diego’s Law
Careless Drivers May Now Face Jail Time for Injuring Bicyclists & Pedestrians
New York State has passed “vulnerable user” laws to crack down
on careless drivers who injure pedestrians and bicyclists. The legislation,
called “Hayley and Diego’s Law,” was introduced after
the tragic deaths of Hayley Ng, 4, and Diego Martinez, 3, who were killed
in Chinatown in NYC when a delivery van, that had been left in reverse,
climbed the curb and hit the children. The driver was not charged with
any infraction resulting from the children’s deaths. In response
to this tragedy, NY legislators passed NY Vehicle & Traffic Law §1146.
V&T §1146 imposes the following penalties on drivers, whose failure
to exercise due care results in injury to pedestrians or bicyclists:
- For the first offense, a fine of $750 or 15 days of jail time, participation
in a driving training course, suspension or revocation of the driver’s
license or registration, or any combination of these penalties; and
- For the second offense, any of the above penalties, plus a misdemeanor
NYC Administratice Code Criminalizes Crashes with Cyclist/Pedestrian
In addition to NY V&T §1146 which applies state-wide, in 2014
NYC enacted an Administrative Code which now criminalizes a crash with
a cyclist or pedestrian who has the right of way. In the event that a
driver’s failure to yield the right of way to a cyclist or pedestrian
causes “physical injury”, §19-190 of the NYC Administrative
Code provides that the driver may be charged with a misdemeanor and imprisoned
for up to 30 days.
This information is provided by NYBC Board Members and Attorneys Daniel
NewYorkBikeLawyers.com (Flanzig and Flanzig, LLP) and Jim Reed,
www.NYBikeAccidentBlog.com Dan and Jim are New York Attorneys focusing in the rights and protection
of cyclists across New York.
Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice nor does the
use of this article create an attorney/client relationship. The advice
in this article offers a general overview of the laws in New York. Remember,
every incident or claim is specific, and the guidelines may not be applicable
to your particular case. As always, we suggest contacting an attorney
with any legal claim or issue before taking action on your own behalf.