New York City Traffic Regulation Section 412(m), generally restricts motorists from driving in a bus lane. A violation of this offense used to just involve roughly a $100 fine. However, as of February 25th 2016, it now also carries 2 points.
Section 412(m) states that, when signage is displayed designating a lane to be a bus lane, no one is to drive their vehicle in that lane during the marked hours of operation except during the below five exceptional circumstances:
- to make a right-hand turn onto a street or into a private drive;
- to approach or leave the curbside, unless a “no standing” sign is also posted;
- to expeditiously discharge passengers;
- to avoid an obstacle; and,
- to comply with the direction of a law enforcement officer.
For those who intend to make a right-hand turn, the regulation also states that one must leave the bus lane “at the nearest opportunity,” and also that “no person may drive a vehicle within a designated bus lane in a manner that interferes with the safety and passage of buses.” Therefore, you can only enter the lane when you are within a block of your right-hand turn and you are not interfering with a bus.
Further, some NYC buses are equipped with cameras. Bus drivers have the ability to snap a photo of motorists illegally using the bus lane. In this case, however, a camera ticket does not carry points or appear on your driver’s record. The ones which now carry the 2 points are those that are issued by police officers.
We urge all of our readers to be smart about how they drive, and avoid driving in bus lanes (except when permitted by law).
The full text of Section 412(m) is below:
Bus lane restrictions on city streets. When signs are erected giving notice of bus lane restrictions, no person shall drive a vehicle other than a bus within a designated bus lane during the restricted hours, except:
(1) to use such bus lane in order to make a right hand turn where permitted into a street, private road, private drive, or an entrance to private property in a safe manner; or
(2) to approach to or leave the curbside space, unless standing or stopping at the curb is prohibited by sign or rule; or
(3) temporarily to enter or leave the bus lane for the purpose of and while actually engaged in expeditiously receiving or discharging passengers, except when such activity is prohibited by signs or rules; or
(4) to avoid an obstacle which obstructs the roadway and leaves fewer than ten feet of roadway width available for the free movement of vehicular traffic (except for temporary situations such as slow moving traffic and vehicles loading refuse); or
(5) to comply with the direction of any law enforcement officer or other person authorized to enforce this rule.
With respect to the exceptions in paragraphs one through four of this subdivision, a vehicle may not be operated in the bus lane during restricted hours for more than two hundred feet. The preceding sentence does not apply where posted signs, markings or other traffic control devices indicate otherwise.
With respect to the exceptions in paragraphs two through five of this subdivision, a vehicle must exit the bus lane at the nearest opportunity where it is safe and legal to do so.
Notwithstanding any other provision of these rules, no person may drive a vehicle within a designated bus lane in a manner that interferes with the safety and passage of buses operating