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When turning, do you have to give way to a pedestrian?

By 25 March 2014 30

You’re driving south along Allara Street past the Civic Pool, and making a 45 degree left turn into Dive Lane which leads to the pool car park. If you proceed, there is a danger that you will collide with a person who is walking parallel to Allara Street, across the end of Dive lane.

According to the current ACT road rules, must you give way to the person who is crossing Dive Lane?

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30 Responses to
When turning, do you have to give way to a pedestrian?
caf 11:31 am
25 Mar 14
#1

Yes. You have to give way to anyone already in the road you are turning onto, regardless of whether they’re in a vehicle or not.

MonarchRepublic 11:53 am
25 Mar 14
#2

The ACT road rules do not give you permission to run down pedestrians.

patrick_keogh 12:00 pm
25 Mar 14
#3

Well Leon, you’re the expert on all things pedestrian here in the ACT so what’s the answer?

I am currently guided by p.41 of the ACT Road Rules Handbook January 2014 which includes:
“The law says you must give way to:…
• pedestrians crossing the road the driver is entering if you face a GIVE WAY sign or STOP sign or where there are no signs;”

Of course the handbook is not the Act, so this may not be conclusive.

MrBigEars 12:24 pm
25 Mar 14
#4

I can’t find anything ACT specific, but I assume (with caveats) that it would be similar to NSW:

(http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/usingroads/downloads/top_10_misunderstood_road_rules.pdf page 6)

Having said that, as a frequent pedestrian at that intersection, I stop to let cars through. There’s enough physical obstruction (trees, cars, trucks) that there’s too much risk of not being seen.

bd84 12:29 pm
25 Mar 14
#5

Yes, you are required by law to give way to pedestrians crossing or about to cross the road that you are about to turn into (not on a continuing road).

Is it a sensible law? Well on a few occasions yes, most of the time no. I would apply the “when it’s safe to do so” or “if the pedestrian is already in the road” rule to avoid either having an accident yourself through the inattention/law ignorance of others and to not kill any pedestrians.. If a pedestrian has stopped and looked waiting for you to pass, then in most cases I wouldn’t stop to let them cross.. Only causes confusion. I would normally if I’m crossing a foot path, but again depends whether there’s a lot of cars behind me that may run into me and then into the pedestrian.

teddyhb 2:31 pm
25 Mar 14
#6

from http://www.rego.act.gov.au/licensing/roadrules.htm

“When turning into a road at an intersection, a driver must give way to any pedestrian who is crossing the road the driver is entering.”

sandog 3:11 pm
25 Mar 14
#7

gospeedygo 3:51 pm
25 Mar 14
#8

Why would you even question giving way to pedestrians, official road rules or not. Car = heavy and fast. Person = Puny bag of meat.

M0les 4:17 pm
25 Mar 14
#9

Drivers at intersections who are turning left or right must give way to pedestrians who are crossing.
(See Notifiable instrument NI2013-329, Rule 73: “Giving way at a T-intersection”, especially the examples)

…That being said, most drivers are likely unaware of this rule (That is the impression I get from my experience), so make sure you’ve trained-up in you dive & roll before exercising your right of way.

fromthecapital 5:56 pm
25 Mar 14
#10

Regardless of whether it’s a pedestrian or a lost kitten, please give way. You shouldn’t need to consider the rules.

Maya123 6:57 pm
25 Mar 14
#11

I asked a similar question once and received this answer from Transport Regulation and Planning, ACT Dept of Territory & Municipal Services

Thank you for lodging your on-line enquiry with the ACT Government regarding the road rules requiring motorists to give way to pedestrians and cyclists when leaving private property such as car parks.

The ACT is consistent with other States and Territories in adopting the Australian Road Rules (ARR) legislation. The Road Rule that is relevant to your question is ARR 74 which states:

ARR 74 Giving way when entering a road from a road-related area or adjacent land

(1) A driver entering a road from a road-related area, or adjacent land, without traffic lights or a stop sign, stop line, give way sign or give way line must give way to:

(a) any vehicle travelling on the road or turning into the road (except a vehicle turning right into the road from a road-related area or adjacent land); and

(b) any pedestrian on the road; and

(c) any vehicle or pedestrian on any road-related area that the driver crosses to enter the road; and

(d) for a driver entering the road from a road-related area:

(i) any pedestrian on the road-related area; and

(ii) any other vehicle ahead of the driver’s vehicle or approaching from the left or right.

In the above rule, the word ‘vehicle’ includes bicycles, because ARR 15 states that the term ‘vehicle’ includes a bicycle.

Under the above national road rule, motorists exiting an off-road car park (which is a road-related area) that crosses a cycle path are required to give way to pedestrians and cyclists (which are ‘vehicles’) on the cycle path (which is a road-related area).

The ACT Road Safety Action Plan recognises the need to educate all road users to be aware of each other when using roads and road related areas. As part of the Plan, an awareness campaign on ‘sharing the road’ is under development and is planned to be implemented during 2009 – 2010. A key objective of this campaign is to encourage motorists, motorcyclists and cyclists to respect each other and practice safe road behaviour. Messages will also emphasise the road rules and the legal responsibilities of all road users.

Unfortunately some car drivers disobey the give way rule in the circumstances you described. Incidents where this occurs can be reported to Canberra Policing on telephone 131 444.

(So the answer is yes, you must give way.)

bigred 7:02 pm
25 Mar 14
#12

Nope, never enforced and little known. Just run them down.

gooterz 9:40 pm
25 Mar 14
#13

If a person jumps out onto the road in front of you do you have to give way?

MrBigEars 8:03 am
26 Mar 14
#14

gooterz said :

If a person jumps out onto the road in front of you do you have to give way?

You have an obligation to make a reasonable attempt to avoid a collision. So yes, with a but. If a pedestrian steps out of your vehicle and you bury the accelerator, or you swerve to hit them, that’s bad and you are a bad person. If they step out and you emergency brake or swerve to avoid them and still hit them, then that’s bad, but not your fault.

rosscoact 8:38 am
26 Mar 14
#15

gooterz said :

If a person jumps out onto the road in front of you do you have to give way?

In what context do you mean ‘have’? Morally, legally or when you’re updating facebook?

Masquara 9:03 pm
26 Mar 14
#16

If anyone thinks you would get away in court with running down and damaging a pedestrian in that circumstance, regardless of the road rules, think again.

astrojax 9:03 pm
27 Mar 14
#17

Masquara said :

If anyone thinks you would get away in court with running down and damaging a pedestrian in that circumstance, regardless of the road rules, think again.

is no-one else also not a little horrified that someone even has to ask this question?

Solidarity 10:30 am
28 Mar 14
#18

astrojax said :

Masquara said :

If anyone thinks you would get away in court with running down and damaging a pedestrian in that circumstance, regardless of the road rules, think again.

is no-one else also not a little horrified that someone even has to ask this question?

I’m not surprised by any question asked by a Canberra driver these days.

Leon 11:22 am
28 Mar 14
#19

Thanks for all your contributions.

We have conclusively demonstrated that the Government needs to do a better job of educating Canberrans about the road rules – especially the new rule 353 (as of August 2013) that “If a driver who is turning from a road at an intersection is required to give way to a pedestrian who is crossing the road that the driver is entering, the driver is only required to give way to the pedestrian if the pedestrian’s line of travel in crossing the road is essentially perpendicular to the edges of the road the driver is entering – the driver is not required to give way to a pedestrian who is crossing the road the driver is leaving.”

So if you are crossing the end of Dive Lane, walking parallel with Allara Street rather than perpendicular to the edges of Dive Lane, and a driver turns into Dive Lane and hits you:
* you can be charged with causing a traffic hazard by moving into the path of a driver (Rule 236);
* you can be held liable for the cost of any damage that your body causes to the vehicle; and
* the driver will probably not be charged, unless there is evidence that the driver “fail[ed] unjustifiably and to a gross degree to observe the standard of care that a reasonable person would have observed in all the circumstances of the case” [Crimes Act, s. 29(7)]

If you think that’s a problem, then I suggest that you raise it with Simon Corbell or your local MLA: http://www.parliament.act.gov.au/members/current

Note: Road Rule 12 defines a road as “an area that is open to or used by the public and is developed for, or has as one of its main uses, the driving or riding of motor vehicles.” On that basis, Dive Lane is a road rather than a road-related area.

patrick_keogh 4:48 pm
28 Mar 14
#20

Leon said :

Thanks for all your contributions.

We have conclusively demonstrated that the Government needs to do a better job of educating Canberrans about the road rules – especially the new rule 353 (as of August 2013) that “If a driver who is turning from a road at an intersection is required to give way to a pedestrian who is crossing the road that the driver is entering, the driver is only required to give way to the pedestrian if the pedestrian’s line of travel in crossing the road is essentially perpendicular to the edges of the road the driver is entering – the driver is not required to give way to a pedestrian who is crossing the road the driver is leaving.”

So if you are crossing the end of Dive Lane, walking parallel with Allara Street rather than perpendicular to the edges of Dive Lane, and a driver turns into Dive Lane and hits you:
* you can be charged with causing a traffic hazard by moving into the path of a driver (Rule 236);
* you can be held liable for the cost of any damage that your body causes to the vehicle; and
* the driver will probably not be charged, unless there is evidence that the driver “fail[ed] unjustifiably and to a gross degree to observe the standard of care that a reasonable person would have observed in all the circumstances of the case” [Crimes Act, s. 29(7)]

If you think that’s a problem, then I suggest that you raise it with Simon Corbell or your local MLA: http://www.parliament.act.gov.au/members/current

Note: Road Rule 12 defines a road as “an area that is open to or used by the public and is developed for, or has as one of its main uses, the driving or riding of motor vehicles.” On that basis, Dive Lane is a road rather than a road-related area.

Don’t forget Leon that it was already an offence to walk across Dive Lane as you have suggested. The ARRs say:

230 Crossing a road — general
(1) A pedestrian crossing a road:
(a) must cross by the shortest safe route; and
(b) must not stay on the road longer than necessary to cross the road safely.

So it has always been a requirement for the pedestrian to walk a little down Dive Lane so that they can cross by the shortest safe route. You did not ask about the perspective of the pedestrian, but about the perspective of the driver. In this case both the driver and the pedestrian are potentially commiting and offence although I note that 353 has not been tested and is plainly poorly drafted. The intent was to exclude the case of where the pedestrian was crossing the road that the driver was turning out of, but the poor drafting leads to this potential confusion.

bundah 6:21 pm
28 Mar 14
#21

For the sake of self-preservation it is far safer to wait for the turning vehicle to pass rather than the pedestrian adopting the view that the vehicle must stop so I will step in front of it regardless of the law. Of course if the driver of the vehicle stops and motion one across that’s a different scenario.

caf 9:37 pm
28 Mar 14
#22

I am pretty sure crossing parallel to the cross street would be considered “essentially perpendicular”, even though the road in question joins at a slight angle.

Alderney 7:41 am
29 Mar 14
#23

patrick_keogh said :

Leon said :

Thanks for all your contributions.

We have conclusively demonstrated that the Government needs to do a better job of educating Canberrans about the road rules – especially the new rule 353 (as of August 2013) that “If a driver who is turning from a road at an intersection is required to give way to a pedestrian who is crossing the road that the driver is entering, the driver is only required to give way to the pedestrian if the pedestrian’s line of travel in crossing the road is essentially perpendicular to the edges of the road the driver is entering – the driver is not required to give way to a pedestrian who is crossing the road the driver is leaving.”

So if you are crossing the end of Dive Lane, walking parallel with Allara Street rather than perpendicular to the edges of Dive Lane, and a driver turns into Dive Lane and hits you:
* you can be charged with causing a traffic hazard by moving into the path of a driver (Rule 236);
* you can be held liable for the cost of any damage that your body causes to the vehicle; and
* the driver will probably not be charged, unless there is evidence that the driver “fail[ed] unjustifiably and to a gross degree to observe the standard of care that a reasonable person would have observed in all the circumstances of the case” [Crimes Act, s. 29(7)]

If you think that’s a problem, then I suggest that you raise it with Simon Corbell or your local MLA: http://www.parliament.act.gov.au/members/current

Note: Road Rule 12 defines a road as “an area that is open to or used by the public and is developed for, or has as one of its main uses, the driving or riding of motor vehicles.” On that basis, Dive Lane is a road rather than a road-related area.

Don’t forget Leon that it was already an offence to walk across Dive Lane as you have suggested. The ARRs say:

230 Crossing a road — general
(1) A pedestrian crossing a road:
(a) must cross by the shortest safe route; and
(b) must not stay on the road longer than necessary to cross the road safely.

So it has always been a requirement for the pedestrian to walk a little down Dive Lane so that they can cross by the shortest safe route. You did not ask about the perspective of the pedestrian, but about the perspective of the driver. In this case both the driver and the pedestrian are potentially commiting and offence although I note that 353 has not been tested and is plainly poorly drafted. The intent was to exclude the case of where the pedestrian was crossing the road that the driver was turning out of, but the poor drafting leads to this potential confusion.

It’s not really about education, the road rules are ‘strict liability’. I.E. ignorance of the law cannot be used as an excuse in court.

Therefore, if you have a motor vehicle licence it is your duty to know the rules by which you can exercise it.

JC 1:39 pm
29 Mar 14
#24

Alderney said :

It’s not really about education, the road rules are ‘strict liability’. I.E. ignorance of the law cannot be used as an excuse in court.

Therefore, if you have a motor vehicle licence it is your duty to know the rules by which you can exercise it.

Ignorance cannot be used, but the road rules are not quite as clear as some make out so ambiguity can be argued.

I did an advance driver training course 6 months back and one of the instructors was ex AFP traffic cop. He actually spoke about the very rule being discussed here and whilst vehicles in the situation described need to give way, it doesn’t mean pedestrians have right of way. In fact I was surprised to learn that nowhere in the rules does it mention someone’s right, just the need to give wa more latery.

But with pedestrians in this situation they are obliged to not create a hazard or obstruction (rule 236). Subrule 1 says ” A pedestrian must not cause a traffic hazard by moving into the path of a driver. “

So the practical interpretation of the give way to pedestrian rule coupled with rule 236 then means that a vehicle turning must give way to a pedestrian already crossing, but a pedestrian cannot just step out and expect a vehicle to stop and give way.

Oh apparently the lack of a rule for right of way stems from the fact that in all accidents no one side is ever 100% at fault with blame shared between the parties. If they defined right of way it would then make it hard to share the blame.

Now time for a quiz how do you define failure to give way?

Aeek 7:33 pm
30 Mar 14
#25

If all Dive lane does is access the carpark, it may be a driveway not a road.

gazket 12:43 pm
31 Mar 14
#26

how did you get a drivers license Leon ? No wonder 3rd party insurance is so expensive in Canberra when people don’t know basic give way rules.

MrBigEars 5:27 pm
31 Mar 14
#27

Masquara said :

If anyone thinks you would get away in court with running down and damaging a pedestrian in that circumstance, regardless of the road rules, think again.

I did a little bit of digging and wow, this is more right than I thought. In Noseworthy v Berg, a drunk hitchhiker walking up a busy road at night stumbled into the path of a vehicle, driving properly and at a reasonable speed. Driver 60% at fault, because despite having a limited opportunity to see the drunk hitchhiker, the driver failed to take that opportunity, resulting in the accident.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/sa/SASC/1991/3015.html around 105

Leon 12:27 pm
01 Apr 14
#28

caf said :

I am pretty sure crossing parallel to the cross street would be considered “essentially perpendicular”, even though the road in question joins at a slight angle.

Given that Dive Lane is at 45 degrees to Allara Street, would you agree that crossing parallel to Allara Street could also be considered “essentially parallel” to Dive Lane?

Leon 12:33 pm
01 Apr 14
#29

JC said :

So the practical interpretation of the give way to pedestrian rule coupled with rule 236 then means that a vehicle turning must give way to a pedestrian already crossing, but a pedestrian cannot just step out and expect a vehicle to stop and give way.

That sounds about right. If a driver must give way to a pedestrian, the pedestrian should be able to to signal his or her intention to cross the road by stepping onto the road (but not so far as to cause a traffic hazard). The driver should then give way.

If the pedestrian has come from the other side of the road and is already near the middle, then the driver must give way.

Cimexus 3:37 pm
01 Apr 14
#30

Leon said :

Given that Dive Lane is at 45 degrees to Allara Street, would you agree that crossing parallel to Allara Street could also be considered “essentially parallel” to Dive Lane?

Hmm. I suggest you take a look at Google Maps at this location. The situation is not as clear cut as you might think:

- One kerb (the northern/eastern) is indeed at 45 degrees to Allara St.
- The other kerb meets Allara St. close to perpendicularly.
- The mean centre-line of the road, as indicated by Google Maps when you have satellite imagery OFF (i.e. just the actual road map) actually meets as a normal, perpendicular T-intersection. The point at which the road officially ‘turns’ to a 45 degree angle is roughly where the Allara St. footpath crosses it.

If I were a lawyer arguing for a hit pedestrian in this thread’s hypothetical situation, I would be strongly arguing that crossing the way described IS essentially perpendicular to Dive Lane at that point of the road. If the pedestrian were crossing any further down the road (at the same angle), then yeah, it’d be 45 degrees. But if they are immediately adjacent to Allara St (on the footpath or on the median strip), then it’s arguable either way. It might come down to how the official maps (which Google Maps may not accurately reflect) portray the angle of the intersection.

Either way the whole “essentially perpendicular” requirement is somewhat ambiguous and subjective. Would be an interesting thing to see a real case that hinged on the interpretation of this section.

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