Centre for Road Safety

Safer to cross at the lights

Traffic signals for pedestrians are often located on busy roads to stop vehicles and allow large numbers of people on foot to cross safely. Scramble crossings stop all vehicles and permit pedestrians to walk in all directions. Traffic signals for pedestrians are also installed at some mid-block locations where there are many people (young, older or pedestrians with disabilities) wishing to cross the road.

Pedestrian traffic signals

Many traffic lights have pedestrian signals to help you cross the road safely. Press the button and wait for the lights to change to the green walk signal before crossing. Make sure that vehicles stop before you cross, and don't walk if vehicles are moving through the crossing or if the red don't walk signal shows. When approaching traffic lights, you must not start to cross on the flashing red don't walk signal. You must wait for the green signal before you start to cross.

Pedestrian countdown timers

At some intersections, pedestrian countdown timers have replaced the flashing red man don't walk signal. The countdown timers show how many seconds you have left to finish crossing before oncoming vehicles will be given a green light. If you haven’t started to cross, the countdown timers can help you decide if it’s safe to do so.

Pedestrian crossings (zebra crossings)

Drivers must slow down and stop when a pedestrian steps onto a marked crossing. Drivers must give way to any pedestrian on the crossing. Crossings with poor visibility have zigzag white lines painted on the road to warn drivers. Some drivers may not stop for pedestrians, so wait until all vehicles have stopped before you start to cross.

Raised pedestrian crossings

Raised pedestrian crossings are located where there are high levels of pedestrian activity. They are raised to increase visibility for approaching drivers and slow down traffic. Pedestrian facilities on local and regional roads are installed by councils and on state roads by Roads and Maritime Services.

Red flag marked children crossing.

Children's crossings

Children's crossings are usually part-time crossings that operate before and after school hours, or at other times that may be approved by local councils. Aside from these times, the area is not a pedestrian crossing. When in use, red flags displaying the words CHILDREN CROSSING are used. Drivers must slow down and halt before the stop line when a pedestrian is on the crossing or waiting to cross – and remain stopped until all pedestrians leave the crossing.

Children's crossings and pedestrian crossings

This animation highlights the difference between children’s crossings and pedestrian crossings, and what motorists need to do on approach to each type of crossing.

Shared crossings

Zebra crossings are sometimes used as children's crossings. When they are, the red flags will be shown and the above rules apply. Otherwise, they operate as a normal zebra crossing.

Pelican crossings

The signals for pedestrians at pelican crossings are the same as those at normal mid-block pedestrian signals. However, when the DON'T WALK pedestrian symbol flashes, drivers see a flashing yellow light. If there is no risk of a collision, drivers may proceed through the crossing.

Pedestrian fencing

Pedestrian fencing is installed to stop pedestrians walking across busy roads. The fencing directs pedestrians to controlled crossings.

Pedestrian refuge island.

Pedestrian refuge islands

Pedestrian refuge islands are not pedestrian crossings; they are installed on busy or wide roads to help pedestrians cross in two stages. Sometimes they are used with a pedestrian crossing when a staged crossing is required.