Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side.

The question should be – what care did the pedestrian take in crossing the road, so that they safely get to the other side.

Roadways have been constructed for the use of motor vehicles. People crossing roads are venturing into their territory.

The government has assisted pedestrians in this risky activity of road crossing by providing them with pedestrian crossings, and in some cases traffic lights, stopping the traffic to facilitate their safe passage.

When venturing to cross a road the pedestrian must take into account:

  • Road conditions – is it wet or dry
  • Oncoming traffic
  • The distance of any approaching vehicle
  • The speed of any approaching vehicle
  • The weight of any approaching vehicle – which will determine its ability to stop
  • The visibility of the driver of any approaching vehicle, including is the weather clear or is it wet and foggy, are they, the pedestrian, standing out of sight of traffic behind a parked car
  • The lie of the road – does it slope away from or down to where they propose to cross, (this affects the speed of oncoming traffic and their visibility)
  • The likely perception/reaction time of the driver of any approaching vehicle

Motor vehicles are unable to stop on a penny. A vehicle travelling at 40km per hour takes 26m to stop on a dry road and even more on a wet surface. A car travelling at 60km per hour takes 45m to stop on a dry road.

The Motor Accident Compensation Act 1999 (NSW) covers pedestrians who are hit and injured when crossing a road – if the driver of the vehicle involved is deemed to have been negligent. However liability can be denied if in fact it is the pedestrian who is the negligent party. Where a driver is determined to be partly negligent for any collision, but the pedestrian has also been careless of their safety, then an allegation of contributory negligence can be made against the pedestrian, and the level of compensation payable reduced by the percentage of contributory negligence which is determined to be applicable to the pedestrian.

The moral of this story. Take care when crossing roads.

If you, or a member of your family have been injured in a motor vehicle accident you could be entitled to compensation. You can contact Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800 or by making an online enquiry, to obtain friendly advice about your circumstances from one of our compensation experts.

Written by Sue Owen.

Sue Owen is a solicitor in Ian Chipchase and Anna Tavianatos’ Practice Group. Sue works with Ian and Anna on a variety of compensation claims including workers compensation claims, motor vehicle accidents and civil liability claims.