Staying safe as a pedestrian
Staying safe as a pedestrian
It’s easy to become complacent about safety, especially on a familiar route. Taking risks and not being mindful on the roads can have serious consequences.
- Always use pedestrian crossings. They're the safest way to cross the road. If there isn't one, it's risky to cross.
- Stay safe when walking by wearing bright, light-coloured and reflective clothing at night or where it's hard to see. Take out your earphones and put away your phone before crossing the road.
Tips to cross safely
If there's no pedestrian crossing, use these tips to cross safely:
- STOP –Before you cross the road, stop at a safe distance from the kerb.
- LOOK –Look both ways for approaching vehicles before you cross the road. As you cross, keep looking both ways and checking until you're safely across. Just because someone else decides to cross, doesn’t mean it’s safe for you.
- THINK –Think about whether it's a safe place to cross.
- Never assume an approaching vehicle can see you or will stop for you. Wait until all vehicles have passed before you consider stepping off the kerb.
- Make sure you can clearly see vehicles coming from both directions, and drivers can also see you.
- CROSS IF SAFE –Remember to always choose a safe place to cross the road:
- Avoid crossing between parked cars, or at the front or back of buses and large vehicles.
- Avoid crossing at the top of a hill or a bend in the road as it's difficult to see approaching traffic and for drivers to see you.
- Only cross if the road is clear of traffic.
If there's a pedestrian crossing, you'll also need to:
- check for turning vehicles before you leave the kerb and while you're crossing the road
- wait for the walk signal at traffic lights.
Be truck aware
Follow these helpful tips to keep you safe around trucks:
- Trucks have blind spots. Take extra care as drivers can’t always see you.
- Only cross at designated pedestrian crossings
- Don’t be distracted by mobile devices and remove headphones before crossing the road
- Always look out before you step out when crossing the road.
Be bus aware
- Plan ahead and don't rush for the bus
- Obey traffic signals and cross with care
- Avoid being distracted by mobile devices
- Stand back from the kerb when waiting for a bus
- Wait until the bus has gone then use a safe place to cross the road.
Our Zero Emission Buses are helping us achieve our goals to respond to climate change. They're much quieter and reduce noise pollution, so remember to always listen and stay alert when walking around buses and traffic.
Traffic signals for pedestrians are often located on busy roads. They manage traffic and allow large numbers of people to cross safely. Scramble crossings stop all vehicles so you can cross in all directions. Traffic signals for pedestrians are also installed at some mid-block locations where there are many people (youth, older or pedestrians with disabilities) wishing to cross the road.
Pedestrian traffic signals
Traffic lights with pedestrian signals help you cross the road safely. Press the button and wait for the lights to change to the green walk signal before crossing. Make sure that vehicles have stopped before you cross. Wait back from the road if vehicles are moving through the crossing or if the red ‘don’t walk’ signal shows. You must wait for the green signal before you start to cross.
Pedestrian countdown timers
At some intersections, pedestrian countdown timers have replaced the flashing red signal. The countdown timers show how many seconds you have left to cross before vehicles get a green light. Allow yourself enough time to fully cross before the counter reaches zero.
Pedestrian crossings (zebra crossings)
Drivers must give way to any pedestrian on a pedestrian crossing. When approaching the marked crossing, drivers must slow down, and if necessary, stop safely before the crossing. Crossings that are hard to see have zigzag white lines painted on the road to warn drivers. Some drivers may not stop for pedestrians, so wait until all vehicles have stopped before you start to cross.
A driver must not overtake or pass a vehicle that's slowing or stopped to give way to a pedestrian at a crossing.
Raised pedestrian crossings (wombat crossings)
You’ll find raised pedestrian crossings (wombat crossings) where there are high levels of pedestrian activity. Raised crossings increase visibility for approaching drivers and slow down traffic. Pedestrian facilities on local and regional roads are installed by councils, and on state roads by Transport for NSW.
Children’s crossings are usually part-time crossings used before and after school. They may operate at other times that local councils approve. Aside from these times, the area isn't a pedestrian crossing. When in use, red flags display the words CHILDREN CROSSING. You must slow down and stop before the line when a pedestrian is on the crossing or waiting to cross. You must remain stopped until all pedestrians leave the crossing.
Zebra crossings are sometimes used as children’s crossings. You’ll see red flags when they're in use and the above rules apply. Otherwise, they operate as a normal zebra crossing.
The signals for pedestrians at pelican crossings are the same as those at normal mid-block pedestrian signals. However, when the ‘don’t walk’ symbol flashes, drivers see a flashing yellow light. If there's no risk of collision, you may drive through the crossing.
Pedestrian fencing is installed to stop pedestrians from walking across busy roads. The fencing directs pedestrians to controlled crossings.
Pedestrian refuge islands
Pedestrian refuge islands aren't pedestrian crossings. On busy or wide roads, they help pedestrians cross in two stages. They sometimes come with a pedestrian crossing if there's a staged crossing.
- Take extra care around trams and tram tracks - remember trams can’t always see you
- Don’t cross directly behind a tram as other road users may not be able to see you
- Cross at designated pedestrian crossings where available
- Don't be distracted by mobile phones, and remove headphones before crossing the road
- Always look left and right, and check twice for trams before you cross the road.
Find out more about staying safe around light rail at transportnsw.info.
For more information
Take care around buses. They are large heavy vehicles and can't stop quickly.