Horse Riders

Rights of the Horse Rider

The New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law covers the rights of those riding horses. Article 34-B Riding Horses of the Vehicle and Traffic Law dictates the “rules of the road” as they relate to the Horse Riding.

§ 1260. Effect of Regulations

The parent of any child and the guardian of any ward shall not authorize or knowingly permit any such child or ward to violate any of the provisions of this article.

These regulations applicable to horses shall apply whenever a horse is ridden or led upon any highway and upon private roads open to public motor vehicle traffic.

§ 1261

Traffic laws apply to persons riding or leading horses. Every person riding or leading a horse upon a roadway shall be granted all rights and shall be subject to all the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this title, except as to special regulations in this article and except as to those provisions of this title which by their nature can have no application.

§ 1262. Riding on Roadways, Shoulders & Horse Paths

Upon all roadways, horses shall be ridden or led either near the right hand curb or edge of the roadway or upon a usable right-hand shoulder, lane or path in such a manner as to prevent undue interference with the flow of traffic.

Persons riding or leading horses upon a roadway shall do so single file. Any person riding or leading a horse who is entering the roadway from a private road, driveway, alley or over a curb shall bring the horse to a full stop before entering the roadway.

§ 1263. Carrying Articles

No person riding or leading a horse shall carry any package, bundle, or article which prevents such person from keeping at least one hand upon the reins.

§ 1264. Ban on Night Riding

No person shall ride or lead a horse upon a roadway during the period from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise. The provisions of this section shall not apply to horse-drawn carriages or carts or police officers, peace officers or park rangers mounted on horseback.

§ 1265. Wearing of Helmets

  1. No person less than fourteen years of age shall ride a horse unless such person is wearing a helmet meeting or exceeding ASTM F1163 (Safety Equipment Institute certified) Equestrian Standard. For purposes of this section, "certified" shall mean that the helmet's manufacturer agrees to the rules and provisions of a system that includes independent testing and quality control audits, and that each helmet manufactured by such manufacturer is permanently marked with the certifying body's registered mark or logo before such helmet is sold or offered for sale. For the purposes of this section, wearing a helmet means having a helmet fastened securely upon the head using the manufacturer's fitting guidelines for the particular model used.

  2. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall pay a civil fine not to exceed fifty dollars. A police officer shall only issue a summons for a violation of this section by a person less than fourteen years of age to the parent or guardian of such person if the violation by such person occurs in the presence of such person's parent or guardian and where such parent or guardian is eighteen years of age or more. Such summons shall only be issued to such parent or guardian, and shall not be issued to the person less than fourteen years of age.


    1. The court shall waive any civil fine for which a person who violates the provisions of this section would be liable if such person supplies the court with proof that between the date of violation and the appearance date for such violation such person purchased or rented a helmet.
    2. The court may waive any civil fine for which a person who violates the provisions of the section would be liable if the court finds that due to reasons of economic hardship such person was unable to purchase a helmet.
  3. The failure of any person to comply with the provisions of this section shall not constitute contributory negligence or assumption of risk, and shall not in any way bar, preclude or foreclose an action for personal injury or wrongful death by or on behalf of such person, nor in any way diminish or reduce the damages recoverable in any such action.