There are several hundred rules and regulations governing what is permitted and prohibited on Victoria’s streets, roads and paths.
Despite driving tests, public education campaigns and the fact that being out on our streets and roads is something that most people do every day, there are many that are poorly obeyed or misunderstood entirely. Here are six of these that I think are among the most commonly ignored or misunderstood.
1. You don’t always have to cross a street at a designated pedestrian crossing
Many people seem to think that it is not legal to cross a road or street except at a designated crossing. This is most definitely not the case in Victoria.
You are able to cross a road or street where there is no designated crossing, so long as you:
- Are not within 20 metres of a designated pedestrian crossing
- Are not crossing against a sign that prohibits pedestrians
- Use the shortest and most direct route to cross
There are a few other more specific requirements for crossing that you can read here.
A good way to work out the 20 metre distance is to visualise a D1-class tram, which is almost exactly 20 metres long.
2. Vehicles must not turn across tram tracks bounded by double yellow lines or raised dividers
This one is dedicated to my fellow passengers on the route 48 tram travelling down Bridge Road.
With the largest tram network in the world, Melbourne has many locations where “tramways” have been installed and designated. These are marked by either double yellow lines or raised divider strips.
Back to the 48 tram, most times that I travel along Bridge Road there is at least one motorist who drives in front of the tram over these dividers causing either vigorous dinging or emergency braking (or both).
RIP the front cabins of C-class trams…
3. Vehicles must give way to pedestrians crossing in a slip lane
I would nominate this one for the prize of least-followed road rule in Victoria.
If you are driving or riding a vehicle entering any slip lane, you must give way to pedestrians crossing.
This rule is probably made confusing by the fact that many slip lanes in Victorian have zebra or other crossings that explicitly give the right of way to people walking, wheeling or riding across the road. This may lead people to believe that they do not have to give way at other slip lanes where there are no markings.
4. Vehicles must give way to turning buses
As I dedicated a previous section to my fellow 48 tram passengers, I will refer in this one to those who also frequent the 200/207 bus down Johnston Street.
In short, if you are in a built-up area and a bus is turning out from the kerb (e.g. from a bus stop), you must give way. Even if it is an indented kerb.
This is regardless of whether they are turning into a bus lane or not. If you see a bus by the side of the road, keep an eye out for its indicator.
5. Don’t park close to bus stops.
Unless otherwise signed, you are not permitted to park, stop or leave your vehicle within 20 metres on the approach or 10 metres on the departure side of any public bus stop.
This is to allow sufficient space for a bus to enter and exit the bus stop safely and pull up to the kerb. This is especially important if the ramp needs to be used for people in wheelchairs, elderly people or others who require this service.
As noted above, there may be parking or other regulatory signs that override this rule. In this case, you can safely park or stop there within the parameters set by any other signage and regulations.
Bonus rule: don’t park, stop or leave your vehicle in a bus zone unless you are driving a public bus. This does not include coaches, taxis, rideshare vehicles, etc.
As a sidenote, as of last year, taxis and rideshare vehicles are allowed to stop in a bus lane if picking up or dropping off passengers, but this does not apply to bus zones.