Giving way to pedestrians always seems to be a contentious point of conversation when it comes to Australian road laws and the topic brings up a lot of questions. When do pedestrians have right of way? Do cars have to give way to pedestrians on driveways? Do pedestrians have right of way when crossing at an intersection during a red flashing man?

We all share the goal of keeping everyone safe on and around our roads, but with laws always changing and years continuing to pass since you were actually tested on any road rules, we thought it was time to give you a quick refresh!

Let’s start with the basics and define what it means to give way. Basically, if you’re in a position where you must give the right of way to another car or a pedestrian that has stopped, you must remain stationary in a safe position until the road is clear for you to continue. In a situation where you must give way to a moving pedestrian or vehicle, you must slow down, or stop where necessary, to avoid a to give way to pedestrians

Here’s how to give way to pedestrians.

Giving way to pedestrians when turning

When you’re turning at an intersection, you must always give way to pedestrians that are crossing the road you’re turning into. For example, if you’re turning right onto a road where a pedestrian is beginning to cross, you must wait in a safe position, whether that’s in the right-hand lane of the road you are turning off, or safely past the intersection on the road you are turning onto, until the pedestrian has finished crossing.

Before you turn, look out for pedestrians so you can remain in the safest position possible. Beginning to turn before checking and getting caught in the middle of an intersection is a recipe for disaster!

Giving way to pedestrians at a roundabout

Roundabouts can cause some serious confusion for both drivers and pedestrians. Contrary to when turning a corner, you’re not required to give way to pedestrians crossing the road when you’re turning left, right or going straight through a roundabout. However, we urge you to use common sense and keep an eye out anyway!

Giving way to pedestrians on footpaths and driveways

You must always give way to people who are crossing a driveway or walking on a footpath that you’re wanting to cross in your vehicle. You should stop and remain stationary and wait until any pedestrians at or approaching the driveway have finished crossing. In other words, take it slow and always look left and right before pulling out of your driveway or turning into one.

Giving way to pedestrians at pedestrian crossings

It’s the law across all states and territories of Australia to give way to pedestrians crossing at designated pedestrian crossings. These are indicated by white stripes across the road and signs positioned before the crossing.

If there’s a dividing strip in the middle of the pedestrian crossing, you must remain stationary until the pedestrian has passed that middle point. If there’s no dividing strip, you have to remain stopped until the pedestrian has fully crossed the crossing and reached the footpath at the other side of the road. 

Our tip: When you’re approaching a pedestrian crossing, always look out for people who may be heading to the crossing and prepare to stop for them whether they’re at the crossing or not. People can behave unpredictably when at pedestrian crossings so it’s always safest to approach slowly. 

Do bike riders have to give way to pedestrians?

Yes! Just like cars on the road, bike riders are considered to be using a vehicle and face heavy fines for not obeying the road rules. These include always giving way to pedestrians on roundabouts, giving way to pedestrians on shared footpaths, and giving way to people crossing roads you are turning into.

With all of this extra info, we’re confident you’ll be able to take to the roads safely however, there’s one thing we still need to make clear. In any situation, no matter whether you technically have the right of way, it’s the law that you must slow down or stop in order to avoid collision with a pedestrian. It’s up to you as the driver to ensure you’re creating a safe environment. Always be vigilant and drive with caution!