Legak suggests: If people are caught crossing the road, will they face huge fines?

A Sydney man was “frustrated” as to how long it would take for the green man to appear. He expressed his willingness to cross the road at the risk of a “huge fine”.

Welcome to “sisters in law”, news.com.au’s weekly column, to solve all your legal issues. This week, our resident attorney and real-life sisters Alison and Jillian Barrett from Maurice Blackburn advise whether you will face a hefty fine if you are caught crossing the road.


I live in Sydney and walk a lot. I find it very frustrating that the crosswalk lights take a long time to turn green, and they are not in convenient places. I often cross the road when there are celebrities (as long as there is no car coming), and I don’t always use crossroads. My friend said that I might receive a huge fine, but I have never been caught. What are the rules for crossing the road? Some suburbs near me don’t even have regular crosswalks-do we expect to never cross the road or risk fines? – Tommy, New South Wales

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This is a rule of the road that is often misunderstood, Tommy, your friend is right: you may face a fine for crossing the road with a celebrity.

When most people think about the rules of the road, they think that the rules only apply to vehicles. This is not right, because pedestrians also have obligations. One of the main rules for pedestrians is about crossing the road indiscriminately.

Jaywalking is a term used to describe crossing a road when it is not allowed, which is a crime.

Pedestrians crossing the road must cross the road through the shortest and safest route, and stay on the road for no longer than the time required to cross the road safely. If you don’t comply, you may be fined.

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You mentioned “crossing celebrities”. The law states that if the pedestrian light is red and you have not started to cross the road, you must not start to cross the road until the pedestrian light turns green. If you do this, you may be fined.

If you have already started to cross the road and the pedestrian lights turn red, you can continue to cross the road, but you cannot stay on the road for longer if necessary.

If there are no crosswalks on some roads around you, you can still cross the road. In fact, if you are more than 20m away from the crosswalk, then you should not be fined for crossing the road.

There are some exceptions. If you are within 20m of an intersection, you should not be fined, including:

• Cross or help others to cross the road area between the tram track and the leftmost side of the road, get on or off the bus and then take the tram or public bus

• Pass through the safe zone or pass through the safe zone

• Cross the road at an intersection with traffic lights and “Pedestrians may cross” signs

• Travel through shared areas

• When crossing a road or part of a road, vehicles are excluded.

If there is a sidewalk available and it is not impractical to use it, you also need to walk on the sidewalk, not on the road. If you are walking on the road, you must face approaching vehicles and stay as far away from the roadside as possible.

If you do not comply with these laws, you may face a fine of $75, and if you choose to defend yourself in court and lose, you may face a fine of up to $2,200.

This legal information is general in nature and should not be regarded as specific legal advice or reliance. Those who need specific legal advice should consult a lawyer.

If you have a legal question you would like Alison and Gillian to answer, please send an email [email protected]

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