Warmer weather means you can expect a lot more people out and about on city streets. As a driver in NYC, it’s essential to be extra cautious when pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists or pedicabs are nearby. Accidents involving any of them can have fatal consequences.


In New York City, millions of pedestrians cross intersections every day, during all hours of the day. Don’t forget: All vehicles must yield to all pedestrians at all times at all locations.

  • Avoid frightening a pedestrian by blowing your horn or angering one by moving at an excessive speed towards them unnecessarily. Such actions can lead to a pedestrian banging on the hood of your vehicle or falling down and making a fraudulent claim.
  • Always call the police and make a report if you are involved in an incident or an accident with a pedestrian. Do not leave the scene or you can be arrested for leaving the scene of an accident, even if you know your vehicle did not make contact with the pedestrian.
  • Always anticipate an unsafe act by a pedestrian observed talking on a cell phone, chatting with another pedestrian, eating, or just not paying attention to their surroundings while crossing an intersection.
  • Use extra caution with senior citizen pedestrians as their hearing and vision may be impaired.
  • Keep an eye out for pedestrians crossing in between double-parked vehicles or jaywalking in front of a bus in the process of loading passengers.
  • Use extra caution in the hours after night falls when visibility is diminished.


Always be prepared to take defensive, evasive actions if you see a bicyclist. The law says that bicyclists are supposed to obey the same traffic laws as motorists, but it doesn’t mean that they do. Bicyclists are notorious for running red lights, ignoring stop signs, traveling the wrong way on one-way streets, making sudden unsafe turns and unsafely passing vehicles on the right, among other things.

  • Respect bike lanes and a bicyclist’s right to the same streets you travel on.
  • Always check your side-view mirrors prior to loading or unloading a passenger. Bicyclists often attempt to pass cars in a narrow lane.
  • For-hire vehicles and medallion taxis are often targeted for fraudulent claims by bicyclists.
  • Always call the police and make a report if you are involved in an incident or an accident with a bicyclist. Do not leave the scene or you can be arrested for leaving the scene of an accident, even if you know that your vehicle did not make contact with the bicyclist.
  • If you are involved in an accident with a bicyclist working as a delivery person, obtain the name of the bicyclist’s employer for your insurance company.


An accident between a motorcycle and a motor vehicle can result in a serious, or even a fatal injury for the motorcyclist. Always try to be courteous to motorcyclists.

  • Motorcycles can often be heard from a distance, giving you a warning that one may be approaching.
  • Like bicyclists, motorcycles often attempt to squeeze through narrow spaces and make unsafe moves to avoid stopping for red lights.
  • Use EXTRA caution in inclement weather as a motorcyclist’s vision will be impaired and the road may be slippery.
  • Do not let an unsafe act by a motorcyclist trigger a road rage incident. Let a motorcycle pass you, even if they appear to be driving unsafely.
  • Always anticipate that a motorcyclist may jump in a different direction than the motorcycle is heading in the event of an accident.
  • Keep a safe distance from motorcycles on highways, as they often travel at a high speed.
  • Never assume that a motorcyclist will cooperate when you need to suddenly change lanes to respond to a street hail. Motorcyclists have many other things to focus on and may not realize the motives for such actions.


Taxi and FHV drivers can help reduce the numbers of pedicabs on city streets by providing personalized service to their passengers. Point out the sights of New York to tourists. Be as helpful, courteous and charming as the popular pedicab operators. It is safer, more comfortable, and cheaper to ride in your vehicle than a pedicab.

  • Always anticipate a pedicab will make an unsafe maneuver to respond to a potential passenger.
  • Use extra caution and your defensive driving skills in areas frequented by pedicabs – like Times Square, Central Park South or Central Park.
  • Remember: You must treat pedicabs the way you treat pedestrians and/or bicyclists, yielding to them at all times, regardless of the circumstances.
Article by Bertram Merling

Bertram Merling is the Loss Control Coordinator for the Hereford Insurance Company.

See All Articles