If it wasn’t enough that Victorians may be facing the prospect of on-the-spot fines for swearing in public, it has come our attention that the Victorian police – at the time of writing– are in the midst of a three day blitz, issuing jaywalkers with $60 on-the-spot fines on some of Melbourne’s busiest streets. According to media reports, police are booking every single jaywalker that, er, crosses their paths.
Jaywalking laws in Australia
‘Jaywalking’ isn’t a technical legal term, but rather is a more informal reference to pedestrians who cross the road in a manner that is not permitted by Australian regulations. It’s probably finicky to focus on jaywalking, but if you’re aware of the rules, you might be a tad bit better off financially.
The rule that is arguably the most flouted by, well, all of us, is crossing the road when the pedestrian lights are red. Using Regulation 231 of the Road Rules in New South Wales as our basis, anyone who begins to cross a road when a red pedestrian light is showing is breaking the rules. No exceptions. If the pedestrian light turns red, but you’ve already started crossing, that’s okay. However, don’t take too long because again, you might potentially be disobeying the rules.
In circumstances where there are traffic lights, but no pedestrian lights at an intersection or another part of the road, don’t start crossing the road if the traffic light is either yellow or red. Pedestrians can cross when the light turns green and stop at a prescribed “safe” area, such as a road partition separating traffic travelling in opposite directions. Finally, any person who crosses a road and is within 20 meters of a designated pedestrian crossing, but chooses not to do so is – yes, breaking the rules.
All States have similar regulations concerning pedestrian behaviour, and most of us would probably be aware on a peripheral level that we are breaking the rules when we jaywalk. However, it probably doesn’t occur to us until we’re issued with a fine that we are breaking any rules.
The message that should be taken from all of this by not only Victorians, but all Australians, is to be patient when crossing the road. There are better ways to spend your hard earned cash than being out of pocket due to a jaywalking offence.