most requested services

Latest News Departments Tax Info Apply For... Public Meetings

stay connected


Contact Us

800-596-3200 Citizen Request

Safety Tips

*The following tips were taken from the NYS DOT web site 

Bicyclist Safety:
In New York State, many of the same laws that apply to a driver of a vehicle apply to bicyclists using the roadways. Bicyclists must obey all traffic signals, signs and pavement markings, and must use hand signals for turns. Bicyclists have the legal right to share the road on most public highways, but they are prohibited on interstates, expressways, and parkways. In addition, authorities with jurisdiction over other controlled-access highways may prohibit bicycles.

  • Be predictable. Always ride with traffic, not against it. Cycle single file and as far to the right as is safe. 

  • All bicyclists, regardless of age, should always wear a helmet. Bicyclists under 14 years of age are required by law to wear helmets. 

  • Be conspicuous. Wear bright and light-colored clothing and a helmet. When cycling at night, wear white or reflective clothing and use a headlight and tail light. Red strobe tail lights are a good choice. 

  • Be alert. Do not assume motor vehicles will always yield to you even when you have the right of way. Obey all highway traffic signals and signs. Make eye contact with motorists at intersections. If in doubt, always stop, wait, look and listen. Be careful of parked vehicles, car doors, potholes and road hazards. 

  • Make sure your bicycle is in safe working condition; test brakes and tire condition before every trip.

  • For long trips or during hot weather, always carry water. 

  • For touring trips, carry high energy snacks, a pump and patch kit, first aid kit, map, and compass. 

  • Tell someone where you are going and when you will return. 

  • Use caution on wet surfaces and in highway work zones. 

  • Watch for road hazards, potholes, cracks and debris in the roadway. 

  • Expect the unexpected and carry a small tool kit on your bicycle. 

  • Never ride against traffic. 

  • Stay off sidewalks. 

  • Always use hand signals to indicate turning and stopping.

Motorist Safety
Whenever we are driving motor vehicles, we have a responsibility to make the road safe for all travelers. The following are several points we need to consider while driving as we share the road with pedestrians, cyclists, and in-line skaters.

  • At intersections, be especially alert for pedestrians, particularly children and seniors, approaching from the opposite direction. Be alert and expect to yield and stop for bicyclists and pedestrians whenever you see them.

  • Watch for pedestrians at night and along roads. 

  • Motor vehicle speed is a particular risk to all road-users, especially pedestrians, bicyclists, and in-line skaters. Always obey the speed limit, particularly in residential neighborhoods and school zones. 

  • As motorists, make scanning the roadway for pedestrians, cyclists and in-line skaters second nature. 

  • Don't blast your horn when approaching pedestrians, bicyclists, and in-line skaters. A gentle toot from several hundred feet is more appropriate so as not to startle them and possibly cause a crash. 

  • Don't assume cyclists will position themselves on the road as far to the right as possible. Where the roadway is tight, or there are curbs or parked cars, cyclists will ride 3-4 feet out from road hazards for safety and to be more visible to motorists. Be cautious and patient while sharing the road - someone's life may depend on it. 

  • Allow plenty of space when passing a bicyclist or skater. 

  • When passing by a cyclist or in-line skater, check over your shoulder to make sure you have allowed adequate distance before merging back in or attempting a right turn. 

  • New York State law requires motorists to change lanes when they pass cyclists and in-line skaters. This means that on curving, narrow roads you should slow down and remain behind the cyclist or skater until you can safely pass. Be prepared to slow down or even stop if you can not go around a bicyclist or skater safely. Always warn vehicles behind you if you must slow down or stop by tapping your brakes. 

  • Be aware that when a road is too narrow for cars and bikes to ride safely side by side, bicyclists and in-line skaters should ride in or near the center of the lane to discourage motorists from trying to pass them. 

  • Some roads have bike or in-line skate lanes along side them. Cyclists and in-line skaters are required to use these lanes, but may enter into a vehicle's lane in order to execute a left turn or to avoid a hazard. 

  • Use caution at intersections. A motorist's unexpected turn into a cyclist's travel lane is a common cause of bike-motor vehicle crashes. 

  • Motorists should use eye contact to acknowledge the presence of a bicyclist or in-line skater who has stopped at an intersection or a pedestrian who is waiting to cross the street. Yield to them when appropriate. 

Pedestrian Safety:
In New York State, many of the same laws that apply to a driver of a vehicle apply to pedestrians using the roadways. Pedestrians must obey all traffic signals, signs and pavement markings. Pedestrians have the legal right to share the road on most public highways, but they are prohibited on interstates, expressways, and parkways. In addition, authorities with jurisdiction over other controlled-access highways may prohibit pedestrians. Pedestrians are required to use sidewalks where they are provided and safe to use. When sidewalks are not provided, a pedestrian is required to walk on the left side of the roadway, facing traffic.

  • When there is no traffic control signal, drivers must yield the right of way to pedestrians, particularly if a pedestrian is in a crosswalk on the same side of the road or there is a potential danger to the pedestrian. 

  • Every driver approaching an intersection or crosswalk must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian accompanied by a guide dog or using a cane. 

  • If there isn't a crosswalk, sign or signal at mid-block locations, a pedestrian must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway.

Work Zone Safety:

  • In any work zone along any road, expect the unexpected. Normal speed limits may be reduced, traffic lanes may be changed, and people and vehicles may be working on or near a road.

  • Diamond-shaped orange warning signs are posted in advance of road construction projects. Slow down, be alert and pay attention to the signs.

  • In addition to other warning signs, a "flagger ahead" warning sign may be posted in the work zone. When you see this, stay alert and be prepared to obey the flagger's directions. In a work zone, a flagger has the same authority as a regulatory sign, so you can be cited for disobeying his or her directions.

  • Stay calm. Work zones aren't there to personally inconvenience you. They are necessary to improve the roads for everyone.

  • You may see flashing arrow panels or "lane closed ahead" signs. Merge as soon as possible. Do not zoom up to the lane closure, then try to merge. If everyone cooperates, traffic moves more efficiently. Motorists can help maintain traffic flow and posted speeds by moving to the appropriate lane at first notice of an approaching work zone.

  • Slow down when the signs say to. A car traveling 60 mph travels 86 feet per second. If you are going 60 mph and you pass a sign that states, "Road Work 1,500 Feet," you will be in that work zone in 17 seconds.

  • The most common crash in a highway work zone is the rear-end collision, so remember to leave two seconds of braking distance between you and the car in front of you. The amount of space required to provide two seconds of stopping time will increase the faster you are driving.

  • Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and traffic barriers, trucks, construction equipment and workers. Just like you, highway workers want to return home safely after each day's work.

  • Some work zones - like line painting, road patching and mowing are mobile, moving down the road as the work is finished. Just because you don't see the workers immediately after you see the warning signs doesn't mean they're not out there. Observe the posted signs until you see the one that states you've left the work zone.

  • Highway agencies use many different and varying ways to inform motorists about the location and duration of major work zones. Often, the agencies will suggest a detour to help you avoid the work zone entirely. Plan ahead, and try an alternate route.