New York Driving Rules (How to Share the Road)

New York Driving Rules (How to Share the Road)

Driving will be so much easier if you’re alone on the road. 

But that’s not the reality — in New York, you will have to share the road with all kinds of vehicles

And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. 

We’re going to go over the New York driving rules. In other words, we’re going to show you how to share the road with, say, pedestrians, large trucks, school buses, etc. 

With this, you’ll be able to safely navigate the New York roadways. 

So are you ready? 

Let’s go!

How to Share the Road in New York

Here, we’ll give you the New York driving rules on how to share the road with:

  • Pedestrians
  • Bicycles and skaters
  • Motorcycles
  • Large trucks
  • Slow-moving vehicles
  • All-terrain vehicles
  • Horse riders 

Let’s get to the details. 

How to Share the Road with Pedestrians

Pedestrians are the ones with the highest risk when on the road — there is nothing that will shield them from a collision. 

So if you see people by the side of the road, here are things you should do: 

  • Slow down and prepare to stop. If you are near a crosswalk, prepare to yield even when the green traffic light is turned on. 
  • When you’re backing up, look for people passing. Always check the back and your side mirrors to make sure no one is near your vehicle. 
  • When you see a person with a cane or a guide dog, assume that they are blind or have a disability. Always yield to them. Do not honk at them. 

On the other hand, if you’re a pedestrian, follow these rules to keep safe: 

  • Only cross when the pedestrian traffic signal says “Walk” or has a walking person turned on. 
  • Always cross at a crosswalk. In the absence of a crosswalk, always make sure approaching vehicles know you are about to cross. 
  • Walk on the sidewalk and not on the road. Stay as far as you can from the road. 

How to Share the Road with Bicycles and Skaters

New York Driving Rules (How to Share the Road)

In New York, bicyclists and skaters should be treated as vehicles. However, unlike regular four-wheeled vehicles, they’re not as sturdy and protected. 

Also, most of the time, they’re difficult to see because of their size and lack of reflectors.

So when you’re driving alongside bicyclists and skaters, remember these rules: 

  • Give bicyclists and skaters room when they’re on the road. Do not stay in the same space. Instead, either go in front or at the back. 
  • If you need to pass them, occupy the lane beside them for passing. Do not speed past them and try to push them out of the lane. 
  • Expect a bicyclist or a skater to lose their balance. To avoid accidents if they do, you should always give them space. 
  • Be alert for bicyclists’ and skaters’ hand signals when they’re turning or passing. 

For bicyclists and skaters, make sure to stay in the lane designated for you. In the absence of these lanes, stay on the rightmost lane. 

How to Share the Road with Motorcycles

Did you know that motorcyclists have the same rights and duties as regular vehicles?

This means that they have to follow the same laws and regulations. 

Despite that, you still have to take extra precautions when driving near a motorcycle. These are: 

  • Be alert for the turn signals of motorcycles. These lights are easily mistaken for headlights, so pay closer attention if they are changing directions. 
  • Do not speed past a motorcycle when passing. Give a signal and make sure the rider ahead is aware that you will be passing. 
  • Do not drive too close to a motorcycle to avoid hitting them if they suddenly reduce speed or brake. 
  • Train yourself to spot motorcycles driving alongside you. Give them the full lane and don’t try to squeeze your vehicle beside them. 

How to Share the Road with Large Trucks

Unlike the first 3 vehicles we mentioned, you are the one in danger when driving alongside a large truck. 

You have to be aware of many things, including: 

  • Large trucks have blind spots directly behind and in front of them, and on the sides of the front row. To be visible, you should be at the side nearer to the back. 
  • The bigger the truck, the bigger their blind spots. 
  • Add more distance between you and a truck. The same goes when you’re in front of the truck. In other words, don’t be too close to them since they take more time to stop. 
  • Since trucks need a lot more space when turning, make sure to give way. Don’t try to squeeze in between the truck and the turn.
  • If you need to pass, signal from afar and pass quickly. 
  • Do not cut trucks off since it takes longer for them to brake.

How to Share the Road with Slow-Moving Vehicles

Slow-moving vehicles are marked with an orange triangle sign at the back of the vehicle. These vehicles can only run below 40 mph. 

You are allowed to pass these types of vehicles as long as it is safe to do so. 

How to Share the Road with All-Terrain Vehicles

In New York, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are legally allowed to pass on highways and local roadways. But just like other vehicles, they are required to yield to traffic. 

In turn, you are required to treat them as any other vehicle. 

How to Share the Road with Horse Riders

Horse riders have to abide by laws such as riding single file when on a roadway. They should also be close to the edge of the road, on the rightmost side. 

If you are driving alongside horse riders, you have to be careful and make sure there’s a good distance between you and the horse.

What’s more, it’s illegal to honk your horn when passing or driving horse-driven vehicles. This is because it might startle the animal and cause panic. 

If you need to pass, make a signal to the rider and pass carefully. 


There are all kinds of vehicles that you’ll meet on New York roadways. And this is why it’s important to know how to drive safely alongside them. 

So now that you know the New York driving rules, you can become a safe and responsible driver. In turn, you can reduce the chances of collisions and accidents on the road. 

Drive safely!

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