In New York, who has the right of way when a vehicle is parallel parking?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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In New York, who has the right of way when a vehicle is parallel parking?

I was driving in a one way one lane street. I noticed another vehicle ahead of me double parked on the right side of the road with no signal or sign of moving. I slowly proceeded to pass him on his left with enough space. As I was already halfway past his vehicle, he suddenly reversed at an angle colliding into the rear quarter panel of my vehicle. I filed a claim but the insurance company only offered me 20 stating that I am at fault because I did not let him park. I’m trying to see who has the right way in a situation like this. I would think that a vehicle obstructing traffic, whether parallel parking or double parking, is obligated to observe and wait until they are clear of any oncoming traffic to proceed.

Asked on December 20, 2017 under Accident Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

There is no formal legal "right of way": it's all about who was careless or negligent, and to what degree. And in this case, it was probably more you than him, as your insurer found: you had a clear unobstructed view of what he was doing, looking forward through your windscreen; but his view of you was provided only by mirrors which have blindspots, and as you passed him, you very likely passed through or were in a blind spot when he started moving. If you were in a blindspot, he could not see where you were there. Because you had the superior situational awareness and line of sight, you would be expected to make use of it to avoid the accident, and failing to do so would likely be negligent.

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