Sunday, 27 June 2010

How motorists often get it wrong

Walking my children to school in the morning I have to stop what is really a ridiculous number of times to wait for traffic for what is a very short distance. In many cases, I am having to wait though when it is my right of way. It happens a lot too when I go to the shops or just walk around the neighbourhood.

A thorough knowledge of the Australian Road Rules, or at least those dealing with pedestrians, is not a pre-requisite for getting a driver's licence in this country. If it were, you would not see the sorts of dangerous mistakes made (and the arrogance that comes from thinking you're in the right) that we see every day.

If you are walking along a pavement, you have the right of way at every single driveway. That includes driveways into the carpark at shopping centres every day. You would never believe it though watching people speed blindly out of their driveways. The Road Rule is number 74. Here is the very clear picture that comes with it:

Another rule that is less well known is what should happen at junctions (not including t-junctions). If a pedestrian is crossing the road you are turning on to (as a motorist), whether that road is a side road or a main road, the pedestrian has right of way. The Road Rule is number 72. Again, there are two very clear pictures that come with it; one for turning left on to a side road:

And the other for right:

Rule 73 deals with t-intersections and the rules are the same. You give way to pedestrians whether you are turning into the side road:

Or out of the side road:

Of course you should not walk out into the road if a driver is obviously not going to stop. That would be an uncomfortable way of making your point but make the point anyway. Shout and gesticulate.

If you are driving, please always stop for pedestrians. It is hard enough as it is.

Now a glaring omission in all of this is cyclists. What happens for example at a t-intersection when a motorist is turning left but to do so they would drive across the path of a cyclist? If there is a bike lane across the intersection (a rarity) you would think the answer would be clear but the Road Rules are silent. Cyclists are certainly allowed to overtake on the left (Rule 141 lets them). Some motorists are courteous enough to wait for you (usually because they actually use their mirrors and bother to see you), other do not.

As with many problems like this, the best thing is not to sail through but to hold back until you know the driver has seen you. Seems to be the advice on forums.

If we had proper infrastructure, you would hope the rules would be clear for everyone.

No comments:

Post a Comment