3 Funny Laws New York Ice Cream Trucks Must Follow
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. That includes the police officer who is making sure all ice cream trucks in New York are following the laws that specifically govern how these treat-slingers can operate.
While some lucky Hudson Valley residents may have an ice cream truck patrol their neighborhood, they are most famous for making their rounds in New York City (playing the instrumental version of Pop Goes the Weasel, of course). Their scarcity upstate has a lot to do with what these trucks are allowed to do, and the funny laws that keep them in check.
Ice Cream Truck Laws in New York State
There are three specific rules that govern ice cream trucks in New York. The trucks, described by New York state law as "vehicles engaged in the retail sale of frozen desserts" must follow the guidelines or face penalties. But are they necessary? Every one of these regulations can be filed under "we can't believe we have to tell you this".
[Vehicles cannot] engage in the retail sale of frozen desserts directly to pedestrians on any highway having a speed limit in excess of thirty miles per hour
The logic behind the law is pretty clear. Having an ice cream truck pulling over on 9W in Orange or Ulster County, NY when the speed limit is 55 miles-per-hour could spell disaster. It also leads to the next regulation:
[No sale shall be made] to any person, unless such sale occurs from the side of the vehicle away from moving traffic and as near as possible to the curb or shoulder of the roadway
This is another pretty obvious requirement, and includes the caveat that the customer may not be standing in the street. In fact, all of these regulations make a ton of sense, especially when you take into consideration that small children are often the ice cream truck's biggest customer. The third rule, however, is such common sense that it's comical to imagine law makers feeling the need to include it in legislation:
[A frozen dessert sale from a vehicle is prohibited] unless
such motor vehicle is lawfully parked or stopped
An ice cream truck must be parked before they sell ice cream? Well that one just takes the cake (er, popsicle). And while it's fun to imagine the law was written to stop dessert sales between two moving vehicles, unfortunately, the focus is on the "legal" part of being parked. Ice cream trucks may not stop in crosswalks, in front of fire hydrants, or break any other regulation designating where a vehicle can legally park.
With the summer sun officially here in the Hudson Valley, it's only natural to seek out frozen treats, and while the luckiest among us may find themselves face-to-face with a local ice cream truck, a more guaranteed source of the good stuff are brick and mortar ice cream stands. Check out some of the best (that are even open year-round) below.