New York – Legislation For Pedestrian & Bicyclist Safety

Governor Hochul Signs Legislation to Expand Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety

Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation S.1078B/A.5084A, which requires new drivers to learn about pedestrian and bicyclist safety awareness as a component of the pre-licensing exam and as a prerequisite for obtaining a license to operate a motor vehicle.

“My top priority as Governor is to keep New Yorkers safe, and it is common sense to make pedestrian and bike safety education mandatory for drivers,” Governor Hochul said.  “This law will help prevent crashes and save lives, and I thank my partners in the Assembly and Senate for passing this legislation to make our streets safer.”

“As a parent of twin boys, this new law requiring new drivers to learn about pedestrian and bicycle safety prior to getting a driver’s license definitely helps put my mind at ease,” said Lieutenant Governor Delgado.  “This new law will help improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists and reduce injuries and fatalities.”

Legislation S.1078B/A.5084A adds curriculum to the pre-licensing course that includes an overview of traffic laws governing motor vehicle operators’ duty to exercise care with respect to pedestrians and bicyclists.  This legislation also requires that pedestrian and bicyclist safety be added to the Department of Motor Vehicles instruction handbook.

The signing of this legislation is Governor Hochul’s latest action in expanding traffic safety.  In June, Governor Hochul signed legislation to reauthorize and expand the use of New York City school zone speed cameras to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Last October, Governor Hochul signed legislation establishing a school bus motorist education fund, which served to protect the safety of school children.  Last summer, Governor Hochul announced the completion of $11.3 million in pedestrian safety projects in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

State Senator Andrew Gounardes said, “Ensuring drivers know how to safely share the road with pedestrians and bicyclists is crucial to keeping our streets as safe as possible.  I’m thrilled that my bill to mandate drivers’ education on safe road-sharing has been signed by the Governor, and I look forward to continuing our efforts to end traffic violence once and for all.”

Assemblymember Emily Gallagher said, “Education is a critical component of building safer streets, but for too long, New York drivers could hit the road without learning basic skills to protect pedestrians and cyclists from deadly crashes.  With Governor Hochul’s signature today, our legislation to expand the pre-licensing curriculum is now law.  This important work must continue until all users of the road are protected.”

New York Bicycling Coalition Executive Director Keith Pickett said, “New York Bicycling Coalition applauds Governor Hochul for signing this common sense bill to educate new motorists, and in turn make our roads and streets safer for the most vulnerable people using them.  Our members in all corners of the state thank the Governor and legislature for this important step forward.”

Bike New York President and CEO Ken Podziba said, “We’re thrilled that Governor Hochul is requiring that bicycle and pedestrian safety be added to the DMV curriculum.  Bike New York has been fighting for this simple solution to happen for many years because pedestrians and bicyclists are the most vulnerable road users and education helps save lives. We’re all deeply concerned about the unaccepted increase in cyclists and pedestrians being killed by motor vehicles and we can’t thank the governor enough for her leadership in this critical battle against traffic violence.”

Executive Director of GObike Buffalo Executive Director Justin Booth said, “This bill’s passage through both houses and signature into law is the beginning of a major shift toward increased safety in our communities.  The newest and least experienced drivers in our state will now receive clear instruction about lawfully and safely sharing the road with cyclists and properly yielding to them and pedestrians, and they must prove they understand that instruction in order to get their license.  Safe streets are our organization and coalition’s goal, and this law will bring us closer to that goal.”

Transportation Alternative Executive Director Danny Harris said, “It’s vital that all new drivers know how to safely drive alongside pedestrians and people riding bikes.  We thank Governor Hochul, Senator Gounardes, and Assembly member Gallagher for making this pre-licensing course a requirement for all new drivers.  This measure, along with additional Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act measures passed by the legislature this year, will help make streets across New York safe.”

Families for Safe Streets, part of the NYS Safe Streets Coalition, Co-Founder Amy Cohen said, “Our streets are not just for cars.  By making instruction on pedestrian and bike safety a driver’s license requirement, New York State can ensure all new drivers know how to share the road with others.  At a time when traffic violence is surging across the state, the Crash Victim Rights and Safety Act is needed more than ever.  This new driver’s license requirement, along with further CVRSA measures passed by the legislature, will prevent deadly crashes.”