There is an emerging trend in the increasing number of pedestrians crossing the road illegally.

Road Safety Issue:

Rights must be matched by responsibilities. All pedestrians must abide by the prevailing laws and regulations.

Pedestrians must realise that in crossing the road against the red lights, or in a dangerous or prohibited location, they not only put their own safety in peril, they also risk the lives and limbs of other road-users, particularly cyclists.


The Australian Road Rules 1999 state:

234 Crossing a road on or near a crossing for pedestrians

(1) A pedestrian must not cross a road, or part of a road, within

20 metres of a crossing on the road, except at the crossing or

another crossing, unless the pedestrian is:

(a) crossing, or helping another pedestrian to cross, an area of

the road between tram tracks and the far left side of the

road to get on, or after getting off, a tram or public bus; or

(b) crossing to or from a safety zone; or

(c) crossing at an intersection with traffic lights and a

pedestrians may cross diagonally sign; or

(d) crossing in a shared zone; or

(e) crossing a road, or a part of a road, from which vehicles

are excluded, either permanently or temporarily.

Offence provision.

Note Intersection, public bus, traffic lights, tram and tram tracks are

defined in the dictionary, safety zone is defined in rule 162, and shared

zone is defined in rule 24.

(2) A pedestrian must not stay on a crossing on a road for longer

than necessary to cross the road safely.

Offence provision.

(3) Subrule (2) does not apply to a person who is helping

pedestrians cross a road at a crossing if the person is permitted

to do so under another law of this jurisdiction.

(4) In this rule:

crossing means a children’s crossing, marked foot crossing or

pedestrian crossing.

Note Children’s crossing is defined in rule 80, marked foot crossing is

defined in the dictionary, and pedestrian crossing is defined in rule 81.

More information:


Penalties and Enforcement

Police throughout Australia seem reluctant to enforce pedestrian laws.

This is probably due to the following factors:

1 Priorities and Resources
2 The very low penalties for pedestrian offences – ranging from $15 to $45
3 Because pedestrians are not required to carry identification, a significant number of pedestrians infringed for committing offences provide false particulars
4 The very low penalties for providing false particulars and the inordinate time spent in administration and court appearances by Police

  1. National advertising and awareness campaigns alerting pedestrians to the rules and regulations and the dangers in crossing the road illegally
  2. Increasing the penalties to at least $100 for crossing against red lights and for failing to cross within 20 metres of a pedestrian crossing [ARR 234 (1)]
  3. Allowing Council Rangers and Law Enforcement Officers to share the enforcement function with Police
  4. Creating a very high penalty for providing false particulars to an officer responsible for enforcing pedestrian laws
  5. Manufacturers of MP3 Players should produce widespread advertising and awareness campaigns alerting pedestrians to the very serious dangers in crossing roads while wearing and listening to these devices. Similarly, all packs containing MP3 Players should contain warnings on the front of the packaging, similar to the proportions required for warnings on cigarette packs, providing the same warnings

Children crossing the road

The PCA provides the following advice to parents regarding child pedestrian safety in the traffic environment:

  • children up to eight years old should hold an adult's hand on the footpath, in the car park, or when crossing the road; an adult is defined as a parent, caregiver, grandparent, sibling in high school or older, other relative or neighbour, or other adult as advised by the child's parents/carers

  • children up to ten years old should be actively supervised in the traffic environment and should hold an adult's hand when crossing the road