Jaywalking, in traffic law matters, refers to the act of crossing a street or road outside of a designated crosswalk or crossing against a traffic signal. Jaywalking is illegal and can result in various fines.
It is important for pedestrians to use designated crosswalks and obey traffic signals. This not only ensures their safety in the streets but also helps drivers be more wary of their surroundings. Pedestrians are people on the road who are:
- Walking or running
- Pushing a bicycle
- On a wheelchair
- Using a mobility scooter or motorised wheelchair
- Using a skateboard, foot scooter, or rollerblades
Pedestrians who cross a street outside of a designated crosswalk or against a traffic signal are not in an area where drivers expect to see them. This results in pedestrians getting run over by vehicles unknowingly.
Jaywalking also puts a burden on drivers, who may have to suddenly brake or swerve to avoid hitting the pedestrian. This can lead to accidents and injuries for both the pedestrian and the driver.
Jaywalking: Vulnerable Pedestrians
|Majority of children don’t have the motor skills to react to the dangers of traffic. Children also have a smaller physical stature, which can make them less visible to drivers. They may also be less likely to obey traffic signals and cross at designated crosswalks. Hence, drivers should take extra care near:
Streets that have a children’s park
Schools, especially when children are arriving and leaving their school
Loading/unloading areas for school buses.
|Elders may have physical limitations that make it more difficult for them to walk or navigate the streets safely. They may also have decreased vision, hearing, or cognitive abilities that make it more difficult for them to anticipate traffic or obey traffic signals. The elderly also have a more difficult time recovering from injuries if they get hit by a vehicle.
|Drunk or Drugged Pedestrians
|People who have consumed alcohol or drugs are among the most common groups involved in car accidents. Drugs and alcohol impair brain functions, risk and/or impair people’s ability to judge speed and distance. Hence, drivers should be wary around:
Other areas/streets where there are events
What Do the Road Rules 2014 Say?
The NSW Road Rules 2014 are regulations made under the Road Transport Act 2013. The Road Rules Act 2014 is legislation passed by the government of New South Wales, Australia. This Act governs various aspects of road transport in the state such as:
- Licensing of drivers and vehicles
- Registration of vehicles
- Traffic offences and penalties
- Drunk and drug driving
- Heavy vehicle regulation
The Road Rules 2014 in New South Wales does not specifically mention “jaywalking” in its legislation. However, it does contain provisions for pedestrians and the offences they may commit on the road. Below is a list that contains regulations under Road Rules 2014 for pedestrians.
Jaywalking: Relevant Regulations
1. Regulation 230
Regulation 230 states that pedestrians must take the shortest route possible and must not stay on the road for any longer than is necessary to safely cross. Breaching this rule carries a fine of up to $2,200 if the matter is determined in court.
2. Regulation 231
Regulation 231 states that people are not permitted to cross the intersection or road where the lights are red. However, they may still continue crossing if the lights turn red while they are crossing. This is true as long as they do not stay on the road for any longer than is necessary to safely cross. Let’s use an example. Bonnie was taking an emergency call before she decided to take the crosswalk.
Unbeknownst to her, the pedestrian lights turned green for a few seconds already. Bonnie noticed this and started rushing to the other side of the road. However, the pedestrian lights turned red when she reached the middle of the road. Authorities may not charge her for jaywalking since she was already on the crosswalk before the pedestrian lights turned red.
3. Regulation 232
Regulation 232 imposes a fine of up to $2,200 if pedestrians cross a road with traffic lights (but no pedestrian lights) and those traffic lights were red or yellow when they began crossing. It is not an offence if the light turns red while pedestrians are crossing, as long as they do not stay on the road for any longer than is necessary to safely cross.
4. Regulation 233
According to Section 233 of the Road Rules, a pedestrian must not cross a road to board a tram until the tram has come to a complete stop. Sydney’s light rail system is classified as a tram. While avoiding a pedestrian crossing is an offence, section 234(1)(a) makes an exception for pedestrians who have just gotten off a tram or public bus.
5. Regulation 234
Regulation 234 states that crossing the road within 20 metres of a pedestrian crossing or marked foot crossing area, which is usually where the traffic lights are located, is punishable by a fine of up to $2,200.
However, pedestrians may be exempted from this offence if they cross 20 metres away from a pedestrian crossing or cross at a traffic light intersection when the lights allow them to. However, pedestrians are exempted from charges for an offence under this regulation if they are crossing:
- Or assisting another person to cross, a section of road between tram tracks and the far-left side of the road to the board, or after disembarking, a tram or public bus;
- To or from a safety zone;
- At an intersection with traffic lights and a ‘pedestrian may cross diagonally’ sign;
- In a shared zone; or
- A road or a part of a road, from which vehicles are excluded.
Seeking Legal Advice About Jaywalking
JB Solicitors is a law firm that offers legal services to people who are facing traffic law issues. Traffic laws are complex and if they are violated, it can carry serious consequences, such as fines, licence suspensions, and even imprisonment.