Beware of pedestrians

Drivers have the legal and moral responsibility to take proper care to avoid accidents with pedestrians at all times and places - even if the pedestrians are jaywalking. Always give way to pedestrians on the roadway.

Drive carefully and slowly when pedestrians are around particularly in crowded streets, or when you see a bus stop, or are near a stall. Look out for pedestrians entering the road suddenly, for example, from behind parked or stopped vehicles. In particular, when you are driving a relatively quiet vehicle (e.g. an electric/ hybrid vehicle), pedestrians may not notice that you are approaching.

When entering or emerging from a place facing the road, wherever possible use proper driveways and avoid reversing onto the road. Give way to pedestrians.

Crossing the road

Junctions are a common place for pedestrians to cross the road, particularly across a side road where it joins a main road.

Give way to pedestrians crossing the road into which you are turning.

When approaching a major road, give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross.

Look out for pedestrians crossing the road in front of or from behind parked vehicles.

Tram stops

Tram Stops

 When approaching a tram island, look out for pedestrians crossing to or from the island. Some may be looking for oncoming traffic and not for traffic from your direction. If a tram has stopped, look out for pedestrians who may appear from behind the tram.

If there is no tram island you must stop behind the yellow 'Stop' line (see page 127) and give way to pedestrians crossing to or from the tram. Wait until there are no more passengers getting on or off the tram and look out for people hurrying to catch the tram.


On the roadway

Warning sign -- pedestrians on or crossing road ahead

Warning sign - pedestrians on or crossing road ahead

On roads with no or very narrow pavements or footpaths, pedestrians, perhaps with children, may be walking on the roadway or crossing ahead. Be on the look-out and keep your speed down and be prepared to stop. Give pedestrians walking on the roadway plenty of room.

Look out for pedestrians forced to walk on the roadway when a pavement or footpath is closed or blocked by road works.


 Pedestrian priority zone

Pedestrian priority zone

Regulatory sign - pedestrian priority zone

You must give way to pedestrians on the roadway in a 'Pedestrian priority' zone. The traffic sign marks the beginning of the zone and an 'End' plate is added to indicate end of the zone.

Drive carefully to give way to pedestrians, pedestrians with handcarts or trolleys, processions or other marching groups on the road. Give them plenty of room and keep your speed down. If there is insufficient room to pass, slow down or stop until the pedestrians move away and it is safe to do so.

 Disabled pedestrians

Disabled pedestrians

Warning sign - disabled persons ahead

Look out for disabled pedestrians who may have mobility, visual or hearing impairment and give them plenty of time to cross the road.



Elderly pedestrians

As people grow older, their reaction time become longer and the likelihood of inattention increases together with a general physical or mental deterioration. The elderly may not judge speed very well or notice approaching traffic and may step onto the road unexpectedly. Give them plenty of time to cross the road.

Child pedetrians

Warning sign -- children going to and from school ahead

Warning sign - children going to and from school ahead

Children cannot judge speed very well and young children also have difficulty in concentrating on and understanding the dangers of the road. Small children are also more easily hidden by parked vehicles, roadside objects or other pedestrians. Children may step or run onto the road unexpectedly.

Drive slowly near schools or children's playgrounds and look out for children crossing the road, or getting on or off buses.

Do not park or wait at or near school or playground entrance or exit, particularly when children are leaving or arriving.

Parked vehicles and vehicles reversing or moving off create risks for children. If taking a child from school, park in a safe place a little way from the school and then walk to the school entrance. Do not stop or wait on the opposite side of the road to the school entrance since the child may become excited to see you and run onto the road without following the Road Crossing Code.




School crossing patrols

School Crossing Patrol sign -- you must stop at the sign

School Crossing Patrol sign -
you must stop at the sign
( See page 14 )

You must stop when signalled to do so by a school crossing patrol showing a hand-held 'Stop' sign. Give way to pedestrians who are still crossing even if the patrol allows vehicles to move. Pedestrians other than school children may use a school crossing patrol.

Advance warning of some school crossing patrols may be given by the 'children ahead' warning sign. A twin flashing amber light below the sign warns you that a patrol is operating ahead.

Safety of pedestrians

Pedestrians are not just 'traffic' - they are people. Their movements are unpredictable, and the younger they are the faster they are likely to move or change direction. Children, the elderly, the visually impaired and the disabled all need your special attention.

The rules and advice in this chapter often refer to or take into consideration the safety of pedestrians. Looking out and making allowances for pedestrians is a continuous task for a driver, particularly when driving along urban roads, near junctions, pedestrian crossings, bus stops or road works, in poor weather or at night.

The safety of pedestrians is also important when you stop or park your vehicle.