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Pedestrian guide

People walk, jog, inline skate (rollerblade), skateboard, ride scooters and bicycles, push prams, use wheelchairs and walk their dog on shared paths. Everyone who uses a path should be able to stay safe and use it appropriately.

Tips for walking

All pedestrians

To help you enjoy your walking experience:
  • if you have been inactive for a while, start off slowly by taking short walks
  • choose a walking shoe that firmly supports your foot
  • wear light colours or bright clothing so you can be easily seen when walking especially at dawn, dusk and in other low-light conditions
  • avoid walking in the hottest part of the day
  • drink plenty of water
  • seek shade, wear a broad-brimmed hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and protective clothing
  • keep left when using shared pathways, control your dog and leave room for cyclists and other people to overtake
  • cross at marked crossings and obey the signals at intersections with traffic lights.

For kids

Walking with your children is a great way to spend quality time together. Walking allows children to develop a healthy exercise habit, independence and a sense of community. Road Safety Matters has been developed for teachers to deliver in schools. You can also help to teach your child how to walk safely by:
  • being a model of safe behaviour for your kids
  • talking with them about your actions and decisions as you walk. Ask your children:
    • Is this a safe place to cross?
    • Is there somewhere better to cross, like a pedestrian crossing?
    • Can we be seen by drivers?
    • Where is the best place to walk?
    • Which road should we take to get home?
  • exploring with them, so your children experience different situations and learn about the area they live in
  • giving them more responsibility as they demonstrate more road sense. Get them to lead the way, they might take you places you've never been before.
  • making sure your children know people who live along the route or places they can go to if they feel threatened by strangers or bullies. For information visit Neighbourhood Watch or the Queensland Police Service website.
  • encouraging you kids to walk with friends as they become more independent.

Tips for walking safely

To keep safe as a pedestrian:
  • cross roads at marked crossings (pedestrian crossings, traffic signals or pedestrian refuges) wherever possible
  • if there is no crossing within 20 metres, cross by the shortest and safest route
  • at railway level crossings, wait for the boom to rise and bells to stop before you cross—a second train may be approaching
  • wearing headphones and using a mobile phone will reduce your awareness of what is happening around you
  • if you have been drinking alcohol, walk safely by staying on footpaths and cross at designated crossings
  • always walk on footpaths or nature strips where possible
  • if there is no footpath or nature strip, walk so that you are facing oncoming traffic
  • if walking somewhere dark, carry a torch so you can still see the ground when confronted with headlight glare
  • be very cautious of traffic near crests of hills and curves, if a vehicle is approaching make sure you have a safe escape available and be prepared to use it
  • learn and obey the road rules
  • never assume a driver has seen you.

Road rules for pedestrians

As a pedestrian you need to know when you do, and do not, have to give way on the road.

Queensland's road rules for pedestrians are contained within the Transport Operations (Road Use Management—Road Rules) Regulation 2009.

Crossing roads

When crossing the road or using a pedestrian refuge, traffic island or median wait for a safe break in traffic before crossing each section of the road.

Pedestrian crossings

An image of a pedestrian crossing.
To use a pedestrian crossing:
  • Stand at the edge of the crossing and wait for the traffic to stop.
  • Cross when the traffic has come to a complete stop.
  • If there is more than one lane to cross, be sure that all approaching traffic has seen you.
  • Traffic must give way to you once you have a foot on the crossing.

Children's crossings

Two children and an adult waiting at a school crossing

Children's crossings operate only when the red 'children crossing' flags are displayed. They are designed to help children cross the road safely near schools. To use a children's crossing:
  • Wait on one side of the road for the supervisor to walk out on to the crossing with a red stop sign.
  • Cross once the traffic has stopped at the white stop lines on the road and the crossing supervisor has blown a whistle.

Traffic lights

An image of crossing signals on a traffic island.
To use these crossings:
  • Look for the guidance stickers on the traffic signal pole above the push button.
  • Push the pedestrian button on the traffic signal pole to register that you wish to cross the road.
  • Wait for the lights to change – do not cross if there is a stationary red figure.
  • Cross the road when a green walking figure appears. Always check that drivers are actually stopping for their red light.
  • Complete your crossing when the lights change to a flashing red figure. Drivers are required to give way to pedestrians during this phase.
  • Do not begin crossing on a red flashing signal; you must wait for the next green signal.
Remember to be aware of the traffic around you and make sure vehicles have stopped before you cross the road.

Most pedestrian push buttons are now an 'audio tactile' type to assist people with disabilities. These buttons make a slow beeping sound to assist people with vision impairments to locate the button. The beeping sound changes to a faster beeping sound to indicate when it is safe to cross the road. The buttons also include an upraised arrow which helps people with vision impairments to determine the crossing angle and direction. The arrow also vibrates to assist pedestrians with impaired hearing.

If the pedestrian lights are not working, cross with care when a green traffic light allows motor vehicles to proceed in the same direction as you are heading. Please report any non functioning lights by calling 13 90 40.
Last updated
25 November 2016