As a pedestrian, it’s important that you follow the road rules and guidelines shown below. They will help ensure your safety when you’re walking near roads or crossing the road.
General pedestrian guidelines
- Footpaths provide a safe place for you to walk. Where a footpath is provided, use it.
- Where there is no footpath:
- walk on the side of the road facing oncoming traffic (except on curves, where it is best to walk on the outside edge of the curve)
- if possible, walk off the road, or as close as possible to the edge of the road
- at night, wear light-coloured or reflective clothing, or carry a torch to help you be seen.
- When using a shared path you must be careful and considerate. A shared path may be a cycle path, a footpath, or some other kind of path used by pedestrians, cyclists, riders of mobility devices and riders of wheeled recreational vehicles at the same time. There will be a sign telling you it is a shared path.
- Be careful when crossing driveways, particularly when your visibility is restricted by buildings or fences. Remember, if a driver is coming out of a driveway, their vision will be restricted and they may not see you.
- Cross the road only when it is safe to do so. Always check all nearby roads for vehicles before you cross and quickly walk straight across the road.
- Remember, it takes time for a vehicle to stop. Be sensible and wait for a gap in the traffic before crossing the road.
- When crossing the road at an intersection, remember to check behind and in front for turning vehicles.
- When crossing the road at night, cross near a street light if you can.
- If you need to cross the road when you get off a bus, wait until the bus has moved away before checking for moving vehicles.
- If you have to cross the road between parked vehicles, move out as far as the headlight of a parked car nearest the traffic, then check for moving vehicles and wait for a gap before crossing the road.
- Young children should hold an older person’s hand.
- If you are within 20 metres of a pedestrian crossing, footbridge, underpass or traffic signals, you must use it to cross the road.
- Don’t dawdle on a pedestrian crossing.
- Don’t step out suddenly onto a pedestrian crossing if any vehicles are so close to the crossing that they cannot stop.
Courtesy crossings are not official pedestrian crossings. They provide a place where drivers can stop safely to allow pedestrians to cross. However, drivers are not obliged to stop at courtesy crossings, so use them with care.
Pedestrian traffic signals
At many intersections and busy roads, there are special traffic signals for pedestrians.
When a non-flashing red figure is displayed, you must not cross the road.
When a green figure is displayed, pedestrians may cross the road. A buzzer may also sound to let you know that you can cross.
Walk quickly across
When a flashing red figure is displayed, you must not start crossing the road, but you can finish crossing if you have already started. Some pedestrian traffic signals show how much time you have to finish crossing.
Don’t start crossing, but you may finish crossing
- It can be hard for drivers to see you when you are running. Wear bright clothes and reflective belts or bands.
- Obey the road rules for pedestrians.
- Be very careful at intersections.
Tips for parents
- Teach your children to be safe on the roads and footpaths. Show them where it is safe to walk and how to cross the road safely.
- Show your children the safest way to school, the shops, the playground or other places they go regularly.
- If your children are five years old or under, walk with them to school or preschool.
Remember to watch for children when reversing into or out of driveways and garages.