What is the law regarding crossing the street on red (as a pedestrian)

If a car takes a red, that is a driving violation and they get a ticket...

I'm asking about pedestrians, specifically in NYC it is a very common thing, and just about everyone does it.

I've seen people do it in front of cops, and nothing happened - it's the norm in NYC

Is it legal? is it just not enforced?

2 Answers 2


According to New York state law VAT § 1111(d)(4):

Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian-control signal as provided in section eleven hundred twelve, pedestrians facing any steady red signal shall not enter the roadway.

VAT § 1112 says they can't enter the intersection when a DON'T WALK (flashing or not) is showing, but can continue if they're already in the intersection.

And just to be clear about the illegality, VAT § 1001 says:

It is unlawful and, unless otherwise declared in this title with respect to particular offenses, it is a traffic infraction for any person to do any act forbidden or fail to perform any act required in this title.

So the answer is, it's a traffic infraction, and illegal.


It’s not legal.

As to why it’s not enforced:

  • the legal answer is because police have discretion on which laws they choose to enforce
  • the political answer you need to ask for on politics.se

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