If you see a pedestrian in the road, decide you have the right of way and continue ahead, running into them, you will face the consequences. Yet, if pedestrians could step into the road whenever they want and expect cars to stop, New York traffic would become even more snarled than it already is.
Drivers must give way to people on foot at a crossing where the lights are not working, or there are none. Yielding could mean coming to a stop, or it could mean slowing down to let the pedestrian pass.
Pedestrians must give way to vehicles in specific circumstances
The pedestrian does not always have the right of way. When a set of traffic signals tell pedestrians to stop, they need to do so. They must also yield to vehicles at a crossing if they choose to use that instead of a tunnel or bridge in place for their use.
Where there is no marked crossing, pedestrians must yield to drivers if they wish to cross the street. By contrast, if the driver is on a driveway or alleyway that crosses the sidewalk, the driver must give way to the person on foot.
Even when they have the right of way, people on foot cannot jump out at you and expect you to stop in an instant. They must allow you enough time to do so safely before they step off the curb.
Traffic tickets can have severe consequences, so it pays to look at all options available to contest them. If the police have given you a ticket for failing to yield to a pedestrian, you may be able to overturn it if you can show that you had the right of way and the law expected the pedestrian to yield.