When driving on our roads it’s important to remember that you are sharing the road with many others. You have a responsibility to keep yourself and others safe and avoid road accidents.
Research shows that nearly 7,000 Queenslanders are taken to hospital each year, as a result of serious road crashes.
Sharing the road is an important part of being a safe and diligent driver. Other road users include pedestrians, bicycle riders, and other vehicles.
So what things should we be aware of and keep in mind when sharing the road with others? We take a look.
What should drivers know about sharing the road with pedestrians?
A pedestrian is someone who is:
- walking or jogging;
- using a wheeled recreational device – such as roller blades, roller skates, a skateboard or scooter etc.;
- using wheelchair;
- using a personal mobility device – such as a motorised wheelchair, Segway etc.
When sharing the roads with pedestrians, drivers must:
- give way to pedestrians using zebra or marked foot crossings;
- give way to pedestrians crossing a road you’re turning into;
- give way to pedestrians in a shared zone or slip lane;
- travel at a speed allowing you to stop safely at a crossing if needed;
- prepare to stop if you see another vehicle or bicycle stop, or slow down near a crossing.
Drivers should also take care to:
- travel carefully in areas with children – such as schools and playgrounds;
- allow additional time for an older person or someone with a disability to cross the road;
- reduce your speed around entertainment venues where people gather.
What should drivers know about sharing the road with cyclists?
Bicycle riders and motorists have the same rights and responsibilities when using the road. When sharing the road with cyclists, drivers must:
- give a minimum of 1 metre when passing a cyclist in a 60kms/hr or less speed zone;
- give a minimum of 1.5 metres when passing a cyclist where the speed limit is over 60kms/hr.
The passing distance is measured from:
- the rightmost part of the bicycle, or the person on the bicycle; to
- the leftmost part of the vehicle, or something sticking out from the vehicle (e.g. a side mirror).
If drivers fail to adhere to these minimum passing distances they will receive a $353 fine and lose 3 demerit points.
- driving over the centre lines (including double unbroken centre lines) on a 2-way road;
- straddling or crossing a lane line (including a continuous lane line) on a multi-lane road;
- driving on a painted island.
The above manoeuvres must only be performed when it is safe to do so.
What should drivers know about sharing the road with other vehicles?
Other vehicles not only include other cars on the road but also heavy vehicles, motorcycles, emergency vehicles, and oversize and escort vehicles.
- must move out of the path of an emergency vehicle if it is sounding an alarm or flashing red and blue lights;
- should make sure they check their blind spot for motorcyclists and give them plenty of room;
- should be aware of the limitations of heavy vehicles including braking times, turning corners, and their larger blind spots etc.;
- should, when approaching an oversize vehicle, slow down, give way, and respond to the gestures by the driver of the escort vehicle.
As a driver you have a duty to avoid collisions and, where necessary, give way to other vehicles and pedestrians. Further, there are rules to help vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians share our roads safely.
There is actually a very high duty of care placed upon drivers, in relation to pedestrians – which we cover in this article about pedestrians and right of way.
Failing to adhere to these rules and share the road with other users can lead to road accidents and injury and the financial and emotional losses flowing from this can be life changing. How drivers behave can have a dramatic effect on reactions from other road users, so we would suggest you try your best to be courteous and remain calm when others are angry and aggressive.
Motorists and bicycle riders must drive with due care and attention at all times and this extends to giving reasonable consideration for, and avoiding road accidents with, other road users. With a bit of care, courtesy, and common sense we can make our roads a safer place for everyone.