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Jaywalking (NSW)

Jaywalking is an American term which describes a person crossing the road unlawfully. The Road Rules 2014, made under the Road Transport Act 2013, list rules for pedestrian behaviour in NSW and the penalties for breaching the rules. Fines are generally $75 to $220 but if unsuccessfully challenged in court, can be up to $2200 (20 penalty units).

The general rule for crossing the road is stated by Regulation 230: that a pedestrian must cross the road by the shortest safe route and not stay on the road longer than is necessary to cross safely. This article provides an overview of how the regulations cover specific situations.

Obeying signs

Regulation 228 states a pedestrian is liable for a fine if they travel past a “no pedestrians” sign.

Regulation 229 states a fine also applies if a pedestrian is found on a length of road to which a road access sign applies, when the sign states pedestrians are not permitted beyond it. This does not apply to a person waiting for, or being dropped off by, a public bus in a bus zone, or the driver or passenger of a truck while in a truck parking area.

At pedestrian lights

Regulation 231 describes how pedestrians must cross the road at pedestrian lights. It states:

  • a pedestrian must not start crossing while the red pedestrian light is showing;
  • if pedestrian lights change to flashing red or red while a pedestrian is crossing, the pedestrian must cross safely to either a “safety area” of a dividing strip, safety zone or traffic island; or the nearest side of the road; and they must remain there until the pedestrian light changes to green.

At traffic lights

Regulation 232 states how a pedestrian must cross the road at traffic lights that do not have pedestrian lights. It provides that:

  • a pedestrian must not start crossing while a red traffic light is showing;
  • if the traffic lights change to yellow or red while a pedestrian is crossing, the pedestrian must cross safely to either a “safety area” of a dividing strip, safety zone or traffic island, and they must remain there until the traffic lights change to green or flashing yellow; or the far side of the road.

To or from a train

Regulation 233 applies to the state’s light rail network. It states a pedestrian must not get on a train until it has stopped at a train stop, and must cross to the nearest footpath or road after getting off a train.

On or near a crossing

Regulation 234 states that a pedestrian must not cross a road within 20 metres of a children’s crossing or marked foot crossing unless the pedestrian is crossing:

  • or helping another pedestrian to cross between train tracks and the side of the road after getting off a train;
  • to or from a safety zone;
  • at an intersection with traffic lights or a “pedestrians may cross diagonally” sign;
  • in a shared zone;
  • a road or part of a road from which vehicles are excluded.

At a rail crossing

Regulation 235 states a pedestrian must not cross a railway line at a rail level crossing unless there is a pedestrian facility (such as a footpath or bridge) and they use it, or there is no such facility within 20 metres. They are also prohibited from crossing if:

  • warning lights are flashing or warning bells are ringing;
  • a gate, boom or barrier at the crossing is closed, or opening or closing;
  • a train is on or entering the crossing;
  • a train can be seen approaching or is sounding a warning;
  • the crossing is blocked.

If the pedestrian facility has a red pedestrian light, a pedestrian must not cross while the light is red. If the light turns red while the pedestrian is crossing, they must finish crossing without delay.

Causing a hazard or obstruction

Regulation 236 bans pedestrians from:

  • causing a traffic hazard by moving into the path of a driver;
  • unreasonably obstructing the path of a driver or another pedestrian;
  • standing on or moving onto a road to:
    • solicit contributions, employment or business from a person in a vehicle;
    • hitchhike;
    • display an advertisement;
    • sell or offer items for sale;
    • wash or clean, or offer to wash or clean, the windscreen of a vehicle.

This regulation also bans the occupant of a vehicle from buying, or offering to buy, an item or service from someone standing on a road.

Moving vehicles

Regulation 237 prohibits a pedestrian from getting on or into a moving vehicle unless the person is engaged in the door-to-door delivery or collection of goods, or the collection of waste, and the vehicle is travelling at less than 5 kilometres an hour.

On footpaths

Regulation 238 states a pedestrian must use a footpath instead of a road if a footpath is available and it not impracticable to do so. If walking on a road, a pedestrian must face approaching traffic and must keep as far to the side of the road as possible.

On bicycle paths

Regulation 239 states a pedestrian must not be on a bicycle path, or part of a separated footpath designated for bicycles, unless they are:

  • crossing it (and must give way to bicycles);
  • in or pushing a wheelchair;
  • on rollerblades or rollerskates.

For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Sally Crosswell

This article was written by Sally Crosswell

Sally Crosswell has a Bachelor of Laws (Hons), a Bachelor of Communication and a Master of International and Community Development. She also completed a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at the College of Law. A former journalist, Sally has a keen interest in human rights law.

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