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Ask RiotACT: Cycling on pedestrian crossings – who must give way?

By Leon Arundell - 9 November 2015 105

Ask RiotACT

If a cyclist and a driver collide on a pedestrian crossing, who is liable for the repair costs for the car and/or bicycle?

The most recent (January 2014) ACT Road Rules Handbook does not require drivers to give way to cyclists on marked pedestrian crossings. It says, “Motorists must give way to pedestrians on a marked pedestrian crossing, if there is a reasonable possibility of a collision.”

Rule 253 of the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Australian Road Rules Incorporation 2013 (No 1) says, “The rider of a bicycle must not cause a traffic hazard by moving into the path of a driver or pedestrian.”

The ACT Government’s information about “safer cycling reforms” says:

  • “When riding a bicycle you will be able to ride slowly across pedestrian crossings (at no more than 10km/h).
  • You must slow to 10km/h on the approach to the crossing and check for any approaching traffic and be prepared to stop. This is to allow motorists to see and respond to you before you make the crossing.
  • You must keep to the left of the crossing and give way to any pedestrians on the crossing.
  • You may be issued a traffic infringement notice for failing to comply with the road rule, including failing to slow on the approach to the crossing and check for approaching traffic. The penalty for each of these offences will be $118.

So cyclists must slow to 10 km/h, keep left, give way to pedestrians and be “prepared” to stop. But must they actually stop to avoid a collision with a car?

Can the Minister for Justice tell us who must give way, if a cyclist and a driver are approaching a pedestrian crossing?

What’s Your opinion?


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105 Responses to
Ask RiotACT: Cycling on pedestrian crossings – who must give way?
ungruntled 3:24 pm 09 Nov 15

While I’m on the subject, the other day I was stopped at lights at an intersection. A cyclist came up beside me on my left, leaving less than 1metre. I had my left indicator on. Cyclist was not in front of me, but beside the centre of my vehicle. I turned left & cyclist took off simultaneously. Nearly a disaster. Luckily, I have quick reactions and my car has excellent brakes.

Mutually shaken, we exchanged are you ok’s & apologies and went our separate ways.

But if the alternative outcome had resulted, whose insurance would have been paying? Or if the senario had been even worse, who would have been charge with the driving offence?

I sometimes fear our road rules and infrastructure are being developed by amatures.

ungruntled 3:11 pm 09 Nov 15

I am not a bike rider myself these days, but last time I looked, there was not a speedo on the bike. Will we know if they are or are not doing 10kph or 15kph or 20?
Think we can expect increased accidents & increased motorists blamed & increased motor insurance premiums.

dungfungus 2:12 pm 09 Nov 15

puggy said :

As of 1st November, the points listed in the bullets in the OP apply. These are part of the trial laws that include the 1m/1.5m passing laws. I had to hunt for it, but:
http://www.justice.act.gov.au/safety_and_emergency/road_safety

Nowhere does it say that the driver must give way to the cyclist, so i take your point that it’s unclear. But, you can bet your bottom dollar that every cyclist has taken this to mean that they have right of way over a motor vehicle at a crossing, as long as they comply with the other requirements.

In any case, the trial formalises what happens in the real world when a sensible cyclist and a sensible motorist meet at a crossing.

Now we all know why the ER at TCH has been doubled in size.

GCS14 1:58 pm 09 Nov 15

digitalchet said :

Clearly the intention for the cyclist when preparing to stop is in case the driver does not see the cyclist. However, the onus is always on the driver to be on the lookout for pedestrian and or cycling traffic, then once the cyclist is sighted, the driver must give way as per regular Pedestrian Crossing rules. In essence, they will be Pedestrian & Cyclist Crossings.

Bingo.

GCS14 1:56 pm 09 Nov 15

Pretty obvious that the cyclist should be treated as a pedestrian, and has the right of way. Slowing down to 10km/hr is to allow motorists the time to see them. And before you suggest that part is about pedestrian safety, you should note that that speed doesn’t apply on the footpath. It is just formalising a practice that was already happening safely.

digitalchet 1:39 pm 09 Nov 15

Solidarity said :

I’m not sure with these new “cyclists can ride across pedestrian crossings” laws, but in 2010, a friend of mine struck a cyclist on a pedestrian crossing in Belconnon (The one near The Lighthouse) and the cyclist was deemed at fault and had to pay for damages to the car.

That seems like a fair outcome. Cyclists were required by law to dismount and walk across at the time.

puggy 1:16 pm 09 Nov 15

As of 1st November, the points listed in the bullets in the OP apply. These are part of the trial laws that include the 1m/1.5m passing laws. I had to hunt for it, but:
http://www.justice.act.gov.au/safety_and_emergency/road_safety

Nowhere does it say that the driver must give way to the cyclist, so i take your point that it’s unclear. But, you can bet your bottom dollar that every cyclist has taken this to mean that they have right of way over a motor vehicle at a crossing, as long as they comply with the other requirements.

In any case, the trial formalises what happens in the real world when a sensible cyclist and a sensible motorist meet at a crossing.

Solidarity 12:58 pm 09 Nov 15

I’m not sure with these new “cyclists can ride across pedestrian crossings” laws, but in 2010, a friend of mine struck a cyclist on a pedestrian crossing in Belconnon (The one near The Lighthouse) and the cyclist was deemed at fault and had to pay for damages to the car.

darkmilk 12:22 pm 09 Nov 15

wildturkeycanoe said :

Segregation of them is the best solution for safer passage.

I’m gong to call you on this one. Segregation definitely works for the parts of the city that it’s possible for, and is definitely the right solution on freeway-like roads like the Tuggeranong Parkway, and should be the case on main arterials like Northbourne Avenue.

However we are never going to build separate footpaths, cycle ways and all-traffic lanes on every single suburban road and car park. In those situations there needs to be strong rules and enforcement to share the road as it’s only single strip of land accessing everyones property.

Ironically the older suburbs are mostly better at having shared roads as they’re wider and more open on the verges, the newer suburbs having shared paths along drains are worse once you have to get from that path to your house along the twisty narrrow roads, where the vehicles hang over the footpath on corners and park across it.

Grrrr 12:21 pm 09 Nov 15

Seems pretty clear to me that as of 1st of November 2015, the cyclist riding across the pedestrian crossing is considered a pedestrian.

So if a driver collides with them (pending all the caveats), it’s the driver’s fault.

Daniel 12:12 pm 09 Nov 15

This is just more of the anti-car nonsense being advocated by the ACT Government. These laws are no doubt designed to encourage cycling and give more rights to cyclists, bit I’m struggling to see how they are logical…

You can bet that nobody will slow down to 10km/h on their bike on approach to a crossing. I know a few crossings which are not visible to motorists until the last second due to road geometry, bushes or buildings. A cyclist will pretty much appear out of nowhere, drivers will have to slam on the anchors, and collisions will no doubt increase. Yes, I know many cyclists ride across crossings anyway, all this means is that this dangerous practice is now legal and it will be impossible to charge a cyclist for riding across at more than 10km/h.

Secondly, this law is obviously to make cycling more appealing, but is it really? Getting off your bike and walking it across the road will add approximately 10 seconds to your journey. Nobody EVER said “I refused to ride my bike because I had to dismount at crossings, but now that I can ride straight across and save 10 seconds on my commute, I will start cycling!”

It’s called a PEDESTRIAN crossing for a reason. I’m tired of this Government, bring on the 2016 election!

digitalchet 11:58 am 09 Nov 15

Obviously not the Minister of Justice, but I think I have a clear grasp of the topic.

The ACT Road Rules Handbook has the following to say about Pedestrian Crossings:

Motorists must give way to pedestrians on a marked pedestrian crossing, if there is a reasonable possibility of a collision.

This would also apply to Wombat (speed hump) and School Crossings, with some additional caveats for the latter.

The Road Rules page and the Justice and Community Safety Directorate sites both clarify how this applies to interactions with cyclists by clearly specifying.

Cyclists will be required to slow to 10km/h on the approach to the crossing and check for any approaching traffic and be prepared to stop. This is to allow motorists to see and respond to the cyclist before they make the crossing.

Clearly the intention for the cyclist when preparing to stop is in case the driver does not see the cyclist. However, the onus is always on the driver to be on the lookout for pedestrian and or cycling traffic, then once the cyclist is sighted, the driver must give way as per regular Pedestrian Crossing rules. In essence, they will be Pedestrian & Cyclist Crossings.

wildturkeycanoe 11:51 am 09 Nov 15

For my 2 cents, the cyclist is not classified as a pedestrian in this situation, so the cyclist is at fault if there is a collision. But determining whether or not the cyclist is doing less than 10km/h is going to be a nutcracker of a pickle.
As the saying goes, the law is an a$$.
What if a pedestrian walks across a cycle lane? Does the cyclist have right of way if there is a collision?
There are too many different modes of transport in one access way in my opinion. Segregation of them is the best solution for safer passage.

Garfield 11:40 am 09 Nov 15

Good question as it looks to be a bit of a muddle. I always wondered how it would be safe for a vehicle, namely a bicycle, to enter a pedestrian crossing at a speed that is at least twice that of a walking person, and I believe that was the justification for the previous rules that required cyclists to dismount before entering a crossing.

Kim F 10:01 am 09 Nov 15

Looking forward to this !

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