Animals

A summary of the key road rules regarding animals.

The rules in detail

The key road rules and reference numbers regarding animals are:

  • 223 - Using lights when riding an animal-drawn vehicle at night or in hazardous weather conditions 
  • 289 - Driving on a nature strip 
  • 297 - Driver to have proper control of a vehicle etc
  • 300 - Use of mobile phones 
  • 301 - Leading an animal while driving a vehicle 
  • 302 - Rider of an animal on a footpath or nature strip to give way to pedestrians 
  • 303A - Horse riding helmets to be worn by riders under 18 
  • 303 - Riding an animal alongside more than 1 other rider 
  • 402 - Giving way to stock 
  • 403 - Requirement to travel at a safe speed near stock 
  • 404 - Requirement to stop at a stock crossing

Every year many crashes involving animals occur on roads.

  • If you see an animal on the road (alive or dead), do not swerve violently to avoid the animal as this can cause you to lose control of your vehicle or to hit oncoming traffic.

You should stop if you can do so safely or slow down and steer around the animal in a controlled manner.

  • If you can’t avoid the animal safely you may have to hit it to avoid injury or death to yourself and others.
  • If the animal has been killed, remove it from the road if it is safe to do so. Be careful with native animals as they may have babies in their pouches.
  • If a native animal has been hurt you should contact the Wildlife Victoria.
  • If the animal is a domestic pet, you should contact the owner, Police or the RSPCA.
  • If the animal is injured you should take it immediately to the nearest animal shelter or vet.

 

If you are riding an animal on the road (e.g. a horse), the animal is considered to be a vehicle.

A rider of an animal must obey the same road rules as other drivers. But, there are also some road rules that apply to riders of animals.

  • If you are under the age of 18, you must wear a helmet when riding on a horse on a road, footpath or any road-related area. 
  • You can ride an animal on footpaths and nature strips, unless it is specifically prohibited. But, you must give way to pedestrians. 
  • If you are riding beside another rider, you can't ride more than 1.5 metres apart. 
  • If you are using a vehicle that is being pulled by an animal (e.g. a horse carriage) at night, you must have: 
    • two white lights visible for 200m on the front (one on each side) 
    • two red lights visible for 200m on the back (one on each side) 
    • red reflectors on each side of the vehicle towards the back.

When a stop sign is displayed at a stock crossing, you must stop before reaching the crossing and not start driving again until all animals have crossed the road.

When a 'Give Way To Stock' sign is displayed, you must slow down to a speed where you can give way or stop if necessary to avoid hitting an animal.

‘Give Way To Stock’ signs are displayed around 300m before a stock crossing. They can also apply to a length of road.

You cannot drive a vehicle:

  • with an animal on your lap
  • while you or a passenger is leading an animal
  • while an animal is tied to the vehicle.

For rules about riding a motorcycle with an animal, see our Motorcycles page.

There are no road rules about securing animals in a vehicle while driving. But, there may be laws in Victoria, such as those preventing cruelty to animals, which may need to be considered when driving with animals in your car.

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