Pedestrians and sharing the road

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

How drivers should share the road with pedestrians

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 
  • You must give way to any pedestrian at or near the stop sign or line.  This includes pedestrians as well as bicycles crossing in front of you on a shared or bicycle path. 

Sharing the road with pedestrians who are visually impaired

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

How pedestrians who are visually impaired should share the road

There are important things you can do to increase your safety. We have developed the following information to improve your safety and help raise your confidence when walking around the streets.

Remember:

  • Plan where you will walk and always choose the safest place to cross the road
  • Whenever possible, cross at a pedestrian crossing, traffic signal or pedestrian refuge
  • If you cannot cross the whole road in one attempt, wait on the pedestrian refuge
  • Walk at times when there are other pedestrians
  • Wear bright or light coloured clothing so others can see you.

How bike riders should cycle on shared paths

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

How bike riders should share the road with people who are visually impaired

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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