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Ask RiotACT: Road rules & riding to school

By Leon Arundell - 5 February 2016 34

Ask RiotACT

Children who walk or ride to school should know the road rules that apply when they cross a road. They should also know to what extent they can trust drivers to act according to those road rules.

Picture the following situation:
* a child is riding to school along a footpath, and continues straight ahead to cross a road;
* a driver approaches from behind the child and starts to turn right, across the path of the child.

Who must give way, and which road rule requires that person to give way?

I’ve posted a diagram below:

TIintersectionCarBike

You can check out the ACT Road Rules Handbook.

This situation raises three important questions:
(1) Do the road rules require the driver or the cyclist to give way?
(2) Is the ACT Road Rules Handbook sufficiently clear?
(3) How safe is it for a cyclist or a driver to assume that the other person knows the relevant rule?

What’s Your opinion?


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34 Responses to
Ask RiotACT: Road rules & riding to school
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Leon 9:08 am 12 Feb 16

Does anyone in Canberra know enough road rules to be trusted to drive a car?
Driving a motor vehicle negligently is an offence against Section 6 of the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act.
But I’m not aware of any road rule that in these circumstances requires either the cyclist or the driver to “give way” in the strict sense.
There is one road rule that makes it an offence for one of them to proceed if there is a risk of collision.
What road rule is it, and is it the driver or the cyclist who may not proceed?

Leon 9:03 am 12 Feb 16

JC said :

In your example the turning vehicle must give way to pedestrian or bike coming off the footpath crossing the road the vehicle is turning into. Refer to rules 75.

So where am I wrong.

Rule 75 requires a driver to give way to a pedestrian who is crossing the road the vehicle is turning into, but does not require the driver to give way to a bicycle that is crossing that road.
wildturkeycanoe nailed it – our 350-plus road rules are too complicated.

wildturkeycanoe 7:18 am 12 Feb 16

JC said :

Leon said :

(2) JC actually said “it is legal to ride a bike on a footpath in the ACT the footpath is for all intents and purposes a road”, but now claims to have said, “bicycles being for all intents and purposes a pedestrian when riding on the foot path.”
If JC can point out an ACT law that confirms either assertion, then I’ll admit that I am wrong. Until then, I’ll maintain that JC is wrong.

Pedantics aside the end result is the same.

In your example the turning vehicle must give way to pedestrian or bike coming off the footpath crossing the road the vehicle is turning into. Refer to rules 75.

So where am I wrong.

Road rule 75 applies when the car is turning into a driveway or road-related area, but what if that is a side street or normal roadway?
Rule 236 states “A pedestrian must not cause a traffic hazard by moving into the path of a driver.”. Rule 253 says the same of a cyclist. So, are the rules contingent on who enters the road first? Any budding lawyers here?

JC 12:21 am 12 Feb 16

Leon said :

(2) JC actually said “it is legal to ride a bike on a footpath in the ACT the footpath is for all intents and purposes a road”, but now claims to have said, “bicycles being for all intents and purposes a pedestrian when riding on the foot path.”
If JC can point out an ACT law that confirms either assertion, then I’ll admit that I am wrong. Until then, I’ll maintain that JC is wrong.

Pedantics aside the end result is the same.

In your example the turning vehicle must give way to pedestrian or bike coming off the footpath crossing the road the vehicle is turning into. Refer to rules 75.

So where am I wrong.

wildturkeycanoe 9:32 pm 11 Feb 16

Isn’t it ridiculous that as well as having to learn the ACT road rules and the national road rules, you also have to regularly keep up with the latest changes to the state or territory legislation and have a law degree to determine which rules override the other ones. Driving in itself takes enough concentration without having to keep all this info going through your mind as well. Makes talking on a mobile whilst driving seem like child’s play in comparison.

Leon 9:09 pm 11 Feb 16

JC said :

Leon whilst that is what is in the national road rules, which you have provided the link for, there are other pieces of legislation that can and do over ride these rules.

Take for example the newly introduced rule that allows bicycles to cross a pedestrian crossing without dismounting. You will not find that law in these road rules.

Likewise what I mentioned above about bicycles being for all intents and purposes a pedestrian when riding on the foot path is also true but covered elsewhere.

(1) JC is correct in stating that the new rule about bicycles crossing pedestrians is not in the national Road Rules as adopted by the ACT.
(2) JC actually said “it is legal to ride a bike on a footpath in the ACT the footpath is for all intents and purposes a road”, but now claims to have said, “bicycles being for all intents and purposes a pedestrian when riding on the foot path.”
If JC can point out an ACT law that confirms either assertion, then I’ll admit that I am wrong. Until then, I’ll maintain that JC is wrong.

JC 5:42 pm 11 Feb 16

Leon said :

JC said :

BTW rule 74 is “Giving way when entering a road from a road related area or adjacent land”. So in your picture that would be a vehicle turning left or right out of the terminating road, not turning into it, that is 75.

And before you say a rider of a bicycle is not a pedestrian, think you will find as it is legal to ride a bike on a footpath in the ACT the footpath is for all intents and purposes a road.

For everybody’s benefit, you can download the actual ACT Road Rules from http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/ni/2013-329/
(1) A vehicle turning from a road is not turning from a road-related area (Rule 13)
(2) A rider of a bicycle is not a pedestrian (Rule 18 and the Dictionary.

Leon whilst that is what is in the national road rules, which you have provided the link for, there are other pieces of legislation that can and do over ride these rules.

Take for example the newly introduced rule that allows bicycles to cross a pedestrian crossing without dismounting. You will not find that law in these road rules.

Likewise what I mentioned above about bicycles being for all intents and purposes a pedestrian when riding on the foot path is also true but covered elsewhere.

Confusing, but that’s the way it works.

Leon 3:14 pm 11 Feb 16

HenryBG said :

There is no law that says the cyclist has to give way to traffic that is not yet present.
There *is* a law that says a driver must take action to avoid a crash.

Clearly the driver has to wait for the rider to finish crossing the road.

It is terrifying that – apparently – a majority of us hold licences despite being unable to answer this simple question.

I too am terrified!
Most laws that apply to drivers also apply to cyclists – see Rules 17 and 19.
Give Way rules require people to give way if there is danger of a collision, even if the potentially colliding traffic is not yet present at the collision point.

Leon 3:07 pm 11 Feb 16

JC said :

BTW rule 74 is “Giving way when entering a road from a road related area or adjacent land”. So in your picture that would be a vehicle turning left or right out of the terminating road, not turning into it, that is 75.

And before you say a rider of a bicycle is not a pedestrian, think you will find as it is legal to ride a bike on a footpath in the ACT the footpath is for all intents and purposes a road.

For everybody’s benefit, you can download the actual ACT Road Rules from http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/ni/2013-329/
(1) A vehicle turning from a road is not turning from a road-related area (Rule 13)
(2) A rider of a bicycle is not a pedestrian (Rule 18 and the Dictionary.

wildturkeycanoe 12:28 pm 11 Feb 16

Acton said :

Would this sum it up?
If you are the driver, give way to the child. Always.
If you are the parent, tell your child to give way to cars. Always.

Then you end up with both stopped, waiting for each other to do something. Then both go at the same time….

HenryBG 12:19 pm 11 Feb 16

Leon said :

JC said :

despite said turning car being the one who should give way.

Can you identify a law that requires the turning car to give way?

In this scenario, a rider is crossing the road. Subsequently, a driver, turning, is entering the road the rider is crossing.

There is no law that says the cyclist has to give way to traffic that is not yet present.
There *is* a law that says a driver must take action to avoid a crash.

Clearly the driver has to wait for the rider to finish crossing the road.

It is terrifying that – apparently – a majority of us hold licences despite being unable to answer this simple question.

JC 9:48 am 11 Feb 16

Leon said :

JC said :

despite said turning car being the one who should give way.

Can you identify a law that requires the turning car to give way?

The situation in your picture is rule 75 of the national road rules.

Leon said :

random said :

it looked to me from a quick look that as a cyclist they qualify as a “rider”, not a pedestrian, and so would be covered by the rule about giving way when entering a road from a road-related area (i.e., equivalent to a car pulling out of a corner property’s driveway).

random has so far come closest to understanding the road rules.
Rule 74 requires drivers (including cyclists) to give way when entering a road from a road related area such as a footpath. But this rule does not apply if the cyclist is already half-way across the road.

BTW rule 74 is “Giving way when entering a road from a road related area or adjacent land”. So in your picture that would be a vehicle turning left or right out of the terminating road, not turning into it, that is 75.

And before you say a rider of a bicycle is not a pedestrian, think you will find as it is legal to ride a bike on a footpath in the ACT the footpath is for all intents and purposes a road.

Leon 8:43 am 11 Feb 16

random said :

it looked to me from a quick look that as a cyclist they qualify as a “rider”, not a pedestrian, and so would be covered by the rule about giving way when entering a road from a road-related area (i.e., equivalent to a car pulling out of a corner property’s driveway).

random has so far come closest to understanding the road rules.
Rule 74 requires drivers (including cyclists) to give way when entering a road from a road related area such as a footpath. But this rule does not apply if the cyclist is already half-way across the road.

Leon 8:36 am 11 Feb 16

JC said :

despite said turning car being the one who should give way.

Can you identify a law that requires the turning car to give way?

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