Pedestrians and sharing the road

Tips about how pedestrians and other road users can share the road and paths safely.

For Pedestrians

Stay visible: be aware that road users might not be able to see you. 

  • Wear or carry something bright. 
  • At night wear something reflective, and carrying a torch or light helps you to see and be seen.

Be aware of turning vehicles: 

  • take note of cars turning into the road you are crossing, even if you’re crossing on a green man.

Choose a safe place to cross, find a location with good visibility: 

  • on a straight section of road, where you can easily see the traffic in both directions and drivers can see you,  
  • use a pedestrian crossing (like a zebra crossing), pedestrian signalised crossing, or pedestrian refuge (island in the middle of the road), where possible.   

Avoid distractions, minimise distractions by: 

  • switching your mobile off and keeping your hearing on full alert,  
  • being aware of what's going on, particularly when crossing the road.
  • Wear bright and reflective clothes at night, and carry a torch or light to help you see and be seen.
  • Keep out of the traffic lane: use the footpath, or walk on the nature strip or hard shoulder, if there is no footpath.
  • Walk facing the oncoming traffic if there are no footpaths.
  • Cross where there is some lighting and at marked pedestrian crossings if possible.
  • Cross where you can see clearly in both directions, avoid crossing near the top of hills and bends in roads.
  • Trucks have huge blind spots, keep out of their way when they are turning.  Step back and let them pass.
  • Watch out for turning vehicles at busy intersections.
  • Trucks might be longer than you think, they could have two separate parts with a long draw bar in between. Check twice to see if a truck has a trailer attached.
  • Trucks take much longer to stop and are less able to swerve, so wait for them to pass before crossing the road. 

For Drivers

There are road rules for drivers and riders to follow when interacting with pedestrians, for example:
  • A driver must give way to any pedestrian on a pedestrian crossing, and must not overtake another vehicle which has stopped at a pedestrian crossing. When approaching a pedestrian crossing, drive at a speed that would enable you to stop safely. 
  • When turning at any intersection (except a roundabout), you must give way to any pedestrians crossing the road you are entering. At roundabouts be aware of pedestrians needing to cross, slow down and give them the space and time they need.
  • When entering or leaving a driveway or private property, you must give way to pedestrians and bicycles on any footpath, path or nature strip you cross.
  • In a shared zone shared by both vehicles and pedestrians, you must give way to pedestrians.

Blindness and low vision and the way it impacts on a person is not always well understood within the community. It is important that all road users know how to identify people who are blind or have low vision, to improve how they interact with them on our streets.

People who are blind or have low vision have less information to rely on when making critical decisions about where and when to cross the road. Other senses, such as hearing can assist, but do not compensate for the loss of vision. People who are vision impaired may use a white cane to help them get around. There are three main types of canes:

  • identification cane
  • long cane
  • support cane

People who are vision impaired people may use a dog:

  • Guide dog
  • Seeing Eye Dog

When driving, riding a motorcycle or bicycle, it is important to be patient with pedestrians and to recognise that people who use canes or dogs may take longer to cross the road. Also be aware that a person who is vision impaired may not make eye contact, or respond to visual gestures.

Helpful information

Follow this link to the Drivers and sharing the road web page.

For Bicycle Riders

There are also some specific rules for bicycle riders when using shared paths:

  • On footpaths or shared paths a bicycle rider must give way to all pedestrians. Pedestrians include people using vision aids, wheelchairs, mobility scooters and wheeled recreational devices. Wheeled recreational devices include rollerblades, skates, skateboards and scooters.
  • A bicycle rider using a footpath or shared path must keep to the left of the path unless it is impractical to do so.
  • A bicycle rider is required to have a bell or similar warning device on his or her bicycle. When overtaking other path users a bike rider should use this warning device or his or her voice to warn others.

For more information about the road rules, see Road rules A- Z Bicycles

Unlike a motor vehicle, a bicycle does not emit adequate sound to alert the pedestrian to their approach. Bicycle riders should ride with extra caution around people with vision impairment. Ringing the bicycle bell or using your voice lets the pedestrian know the bicycle is nearby. Please slow down and give plenty of space if you are overtaking.

Blindness and low vision and the way it impacts on a person is not always well understood within the community. It is important that all road users know how to identify people who are blind or have low vision, to improve how they interact with them on our streets.

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