Common road rule misunderstandings

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Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby InTheWoods » Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:01 pm

Thought I'd start a thread about common misconceptions or misunderstandings of road rules.

I'll start with one that I had until recently, that I've experienced problems with a couple of times recently. On my commute there is a 3 way intersection where one approach has a give way line, and one has a stop line. I approach from the give way road, and often hit the intersection at around the same time as a car has approached and stopped at the stop line road. The road with the stop lane is to my right. Lately cars keep giving way to me and we get into this "no *you* go first" type situation :)

I had always thought that the person with the give way line gets priority over the stop line, but its not true (at least in Qld). If we are both facing stop or give way lines, they are basically removed from the picture and hence I have to give way to the car because he is on my right. Found this recently when I started brushing up on the rules...

Another one, that I don't really come across on the bike but is relevant to driving, is who gives way when two lanes are merging into one. Lots of people don't know that if your lane is ending (you need to cross a lane line) then you give way to whoever is in the lane you are moving to, but if two lanes are merging (no lane line to cross) then whoever is in front has right of way.
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by BNA » Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:06 pm

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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby sogood » Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:06 pm

Yep, 'Give Way' and 'Stop' just means the actions undertaken as one arrives at those intersections. The first does not have to stop unless necessary before proceeding through the intersection while the later must stop before proceeding through the intersection. All other normal intersection rules apply to determine right of way.
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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby diggler » Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:32 pm

Inwood wrote:Thought I'd start a thread about common misconceptions or misunderstandings of road rules.

I'll start with one that I had until recently, that I've experienced problems with a couple of times recently. On my commute there is a 3 way intersection where one approach has a give way line, and one has a stop line. I approach from the give way road, and often hit the intersection at around the same time as a car has approached and stopped at the stop line road. The road with the stop lane is to my right. Lately cars keep giving way to me and we get into this "no *you* go first" type situation :)

I had always thought that the person with the give way line gets priority over the stop line, but its not true (at least in Qld). If we are both facing stop or give way lines, they are basically removed from the picture and hence I have to give way to the car because he is on my right. Found this recently when I started brushing up on the rules...

Another one, that I don't really come across on the bike but is relevant to driving, is who gives way when two lanes are merging into one. Lots of people don't know that if your lane is ending (you need to cross a lane line) then you give way to whoever is in the lane you are moving to, but if two lanes are merging (no lane line to cross) then whoever is in front has right of way.


I'm not so sure about that stop sign interpretation. Which rule are you quoting?

This is from the Australian Road Rules

Division 1 Giving way at a stop sign, stop line,

67 Stopping and giving way at a stop sign or stop line
at an intersection without traffic lights

(1) A driver at an intersection with a stop sign or stop line, but
without traffic lights, must stop and give way in accordance
with this rule.

(2) The driver must stop as near as practicable to, but before
reaching:
(a) the stop line; or
(b) if there is no stop line – the intersection.
(3) The driver must give way to a vehicle in, entering or
approaching the intersection except:
(a) an oncoming vehicle turning right at the intersection if
a stop sign, stop line, give way sign or give way line
applies to the driver of the oncoming vehicle; or
(b) a vehicle turning left at the intersection using a slip
lane; or
(c) a vehicle making a U-turn.
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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby il padrone » Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:42 pm

What I thought as well. The give way/stop sign requires you to give way to all vehicles passing through the intersection from both left and right, except for those exceptions mentioned. Personally I've never seen an intersection with the combination of signs described - it is inherently contradictory.
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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby InTheWoods » Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:57 pm

*Lots* of intersections have more than 1 stop or give way sign.

The section of the road rules (qld) is:
69A Two or more drivers facing various signs or lines at an
intersection
If 2 or more drivers at an intersection are each facing a stop
sign, stop line, give way sign or give way line, each driver
must give way to the other or others, as required under
division 2, as if none of the drivers were facing a stop sign,
stop line, give way sign or give way line


Division 2 is give way to the right etc etc.

There's a good summary here: http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Safety/Queens ... g-way.aspx
A STOP sign is not ‘more powerful’ than a GIVE WAY sign when giving way.
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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby DavidS » Sat Aug 13, 2011 12:41 am

I know this is Melbourne specific but, as a former Tram driver, there is a lot of misunderstanding about the passing trams rules.

Clearly you can pass a tram at any time if there is a safety zone, that one works ok.

If a tram is stopped at a tram stop you cannot pass the tram if the doors are open. Doesn't matter if no-one is getting on or off, if the doors are open it is a stop sign. If the doors are closed you can pass at a slow speed (8 or 10 KMh if memory serves) if no-one is attempting to get on or off. In other words a tram, at a tram stop, with the doors closed, is like a give way sign: any person attempts to get to the tram to try and get on and you have to stop.

The number of people cycling along Swanston St who don't have any idea, or who just don't care, is astounding.

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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby Oxford » Sat Aug 13, 2011 3:48 am

important to note there is no such thing as right of way, no one has right of way. you may have to give way to another road user more than they do to you, but that does not confer a right of way. all road users are under obligation to avoid collisions and as such by definition cannot have a right of way.
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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby InTheWoods » Sat Aug 13, 2011 8:49 am

Oxford wrote:important to note there is no such thing as right of way, no one has right of way. you may have to give way to another road user more than they do to you, but that does not confer a right of way. all road users are under obligation to avoid collisions and as such by definition cannot have a right of way.


Actually yeh that is true :) Another common mis-perception? :)
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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby il padrone » Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:01 am

Inwood wrote:*Lots* of intersections have more than 1 stop or give way sign.

The section of the road rules (qld) is:
69A Two or more drivers facing various signs or lines at an
intersection
If 2 or more drivers at an intersection are each facing a stop
sign, stop line, give way sign or give way line, each driver
must give way to the other or others, as required under
division 2, as if none of the drivers were facing a stop sign,
stop line, give way sign or give way line


Gotta laugh at that :lol: :lol:

:idea: So why have the stop/give way signs at all? :roll:
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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby InTheWoods » Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:08 am

Because often there's at least one approach with no signs. So at the intersection I mention in the OP, there is one road that doesn't give way to anybody. One has a give way because they can see everything. And one has a stop because they have limited visibility of the road with no giveway/stop sign when they're approaching the intersection.
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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby Wal42 » Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:58 am

If I was in that situation then I'd wait until I am sure they aren't going to nail me, self preservation kicks in here, when I'm not riding my pushbikes I occasionally ride a motorbike, you are not well protected from the impact from a car/bus/truck/pedestrian/whatever, so I find it's easier to just take a few seconds longer to make sure I get there in one piece,

Time off work, costs of repairs to the bike isn't worth the argument of I was in the right/they were in the wrong, as Oxford has stated "you can't take the right of way, only be granted it" (not exactly his words but I'll claim some artistic licence), I'm not in that much of a hurry to end my life that I'm not going to wait a few seconds/minutes to make sure that I'm safe at intersections, traffic lights, merging lanes/ side streets/ driveways, or whatever.

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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby diggler » Sat Aug 13, 2011 10:50 am

Yes, even if I have the right of way, I like to be cautious. I always proceed on the assumption they are trying to kill me.
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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby find_bruce » Sat Aug 13, 2011 11:10 am

I like this thread, especially when people refer to the actual road rule and the text of the rule. The other thing to keep in mind is that while there is a document called the Australian Road Rules, they are given effect by the laws of each State and Territory and in the absence of any such law, the Australian Road Rules have no legal effect. The reason is that each state will has slight variations - for example NSW has a number of sections which state "Australian Road Rule not reproduced" (eg rule 185) or "This rule is an additional NSW road rule. There is no corresponding rule in the Australian Road Rules" eg rule 10-1.

Fortunately it seems every state has kept the same numbering so it is easy to tell if it is a state specific rule - it will have an additional letter or number after the rule. So rule 69A of the Qld Road Rules is a Qld specific rule.

Oxford wrote:all road users are under obligation to avoid collisions and as such by definition cannot have a right of way.

That is certainly my understanding (& common sense) but I can't seem to find it in the road rules - do you know which rule it is ?

In my area it seems the most common road rule misunderstandings are
  • Roundabouts - rule 114. Where there is a roundabout at a t-intersection, a large number of drivers seem to think if they are travelling straight ahead, all traffic must give way to them and so approach the roundabout without slowing down & then seem surprised when another vehicle enters the roundabout.
  • Crossing a divided line - rule 139. It seems some drivers think they are permitted to cross a dividing line to overtake a cyclist, even around corners as if the cyclist is merely an obstruction that it is necessary to avoid.
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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby il padrone » Sat Aug 13, 2011 5:57 pm

find_bruce wrote:
Oxford wrote:all road users are under obligation to avoid collisions and as such by definition cannot have a right of way.

That is certainly my understanding (& common sense) but I can't seem to find it in the road rules - do you know which rule it is ?

That's pretty easy to see. Throughout the road rules you will not find a single rule that states "....driver has right of way", but you will find many, many rules stating ".....driver must give way to....."
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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby Oxford » Sat Aug 13, 2011 6:45 pm

il padrone wrote:
find_bruce wrote:
Oxford wrote:all road users are under obligation to avoid collisions and as such by definition cannot have a right of way.

That is certainly my understanding (& common sense) but I can't seem to find it in the road rules - do you know which rule it is ?

That's pretty easy to see. Throughout the road rules you will not find a single rule that states "....driver has right of way", but you will find many, many rules stating ".....driver must give way to....."

if someone can find in the regulations somewhere where it says that a user does not have an obligation to avoid an accident, then find_bruce's question will be answered. :wink: its a bit like that elusive rule that states motor vehicles have to pass cyclists, I still cannot find it, but surely it does exist based on the behaviour of road motorists. :evil:
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Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby RonK » Sat Aug 13, 2011 8:20 pm

Inwood wrote:*Lots* of intersections have more than 1 stop or give way sign.

The section of the road rules (qld) is:
69A Two or more drivers facing various signs or lines at an
intersection
If 2 or more drivers at an intersection are each facing a stop
sign, stop line, give way sign or give way line, each driver
must give way to the other or others, as required under
division 2, as if none of the drivers were facing a stop sign,
stop line, give way sign or give way line


Division 2 is give way to the right etc etc.

There's a good summary here: http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Safety/Queens ... g-way.aspx
A STOP sign is not ‘more powerful’ than a GIVE WAY sign when giving way.


I'm aware of at least one intersection in Qld where this situation exists. I think it's not quite that clear cut. I agree with this interpretation when both vehicles have already stopped - I believe this is or was referred to as the "rule of intersectional stagnation".

But consider the case when two vehicles are moving, approaching stop and give way signs respectively.
The vehicle approaching the stop sign must stop, and once stopped must give way to all moving vehicles. The vehicle approaching the give way sign is not required to stop, and has right of way over the stationary vehicle at the stop sign, but must give way to any vehicle approaching from any direction which is not controlled. The distinctive shape of the respective signs is intended as an aid to drivers in this situation.
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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby Aushiker » Sun Aug 14, 2011 11:44 am

find_bruce wrote:Fortunately it seems every state has kept the same numbering so it is easy to tell if it is a state specific rule - it will have an additional letter or number after the rule. So rule 69A of the Qld Road Rules is a Qld specific rule.


Not in the case of WA I am afraid.

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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby myforwik » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:31 pm

The most common misconception I have seen with cyclists is that they think riding on the shoulder is the same as riding on the road.

A shoulder is officially a 'road related area' and as such if you cycle in it, you have the same rights as someone cycling down the nature strip ie. you have to give way to all vehicles on the road coming from any direction. If you are cycling in the shoulder and cross a T intersection, you have to give way to traffic on the road in every direction. But cyclists never do. They treat the shoulder as the road. Its one of the main reasons why crashes happen and the drivers don't get in trouble.
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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby myforwik » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:42 pm

In general people don't understand even *basics* of the legal road rules.

Consider a car and a pedestrian heading in the same direction, the car wants to turn left and the pedestrian continue straight. Most people think it can only play out 2 ways:
1. The car left hooks the pedestrian causing them to stop. The car has broken the road rule about giving way.
2. The pedestrian steps out in front of the car causing it to stop. The pedestrian has broken the road rules by stepping onto the road and making themselves a hazard.

In both situations neither party is 100% innocent or 100% guilty.

By the road rules what meant to happen is: The pedestrian stops. The car stops and gives way, the pedestrian then proceeds. The car has given way, the pedestrian has not moved into the path of a vehicle or made themselves a hazard as the vehicle is now stationary.

No where in the road rules does anyone ever have right of way. You actually have an onus to give way and/or not make yourself a hazard - which applies even if you have 'right of way'.
Last edited by myforwik on Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby human909 » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:44 pm

4-way STOPs are quite common in many parts of the US and Canada. Every car has to stop. The car that arrives first gets to go.

Its quite good in some ways, it encourages driver communication and even politeness. It slows down traffic and makes things more cyclist and pedestrian friendly. However it makes driving slow and less fuel efficient.
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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby myforwik » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:47 pm

human909 wrote:4-way STOPs are quite common in many parts of the US and Canada. Every car has to stop. The car that arrives first gets to go.

Its quite good in some ways, it encourages driver communication and even politeness. It slows down traffic and makes things more cyclist and pedestrian friendly. However it makes driving slow and less fuel efficient.


Its amazing how uncontrolled intersections don't really exist anymore. I drove from bris to melbourne recently and 15 years ago they were everywhere and people knew you gave way to the right. Today though I doupt uncontrolled intersections exist. Its simply the price. 300m of road can cast $1,000,000 while the paint and signs only cost about $200,000 per 15km. So it would be surprising if there are still uncontrolled cross intersections left.

Which brings me to another misconception: If the lights are flashing orange the 'main road' has the right of way. You see this all the time at a 4 lane road crossing a 2 lane road. No one gives way to the right.
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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:51 pm

Inwood wrote:Thought I'd start a thread about common misconceptions or misunderstandings of road rules.

I'll start with one that I had until recently, that I've experienced problems with a couple of times recently. On my commute there is a 3 way intersection where one approach has a give way line, and one has a stop line. I approach from the give way road, and often hit the intersection at around the same time as a car has approached and stopped at the stop line road. The road with the stop lane is to my right. Lately cars keep giving way to me and we get into this "no *you* go first" type situation :)

I had always thought that the person with the give way line gets priority over the stop line, but its not true (at least in Qld). If we are both facing stop or give way lines, they are basically removed from the picture and hence I have to give way to the car because he is on my right. Found this recently when I started brushing up on the rules...

Another one, that I don't really come across on the bike but is relevant to driving, is who gives way when two lanes are merging into one. Lots of people don't know that if your lane is ending (you need to cross a lane line) then you give way to whoever is in the lane you are moving to, but if two lanes are merging (no lane line to cross) then whoever is in front has right of way.


It seems to me that this intersection puts two drivers in a position where neither is allowed to EVER proceed and are, therefore, obliged to starve to death. My understanding is that both of these require the driver facing the sign to give way. Overiding factors like terminating roads, give-way-to-the-right, etc.

Inwood quotes an out. But then, a driver should not be in the position of having to infer the face side of a sign facing the other driver. And what of evenings? I think those who farting around with "you first", "no you first" are doing the sensible thing. Perhaps you could report it (Neatstreets?)

Slow death. End of story. :\
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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby myforwik » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:52 pm

Inwood wrote:Another one, that I don't really come across on the bike but is relevant to driving, is who gives way when two lanes are merging into one. Lots of people don't know that if your lane is ending (you need to cross a lane line) then you give way to whoever is in the lane you are moving to, but if two lanes are merging (no lane line to cross) then whoever is in front has right of way.


This is important to remember if you are ever in a merging crash on a freeway etc. All freeways have crossing marks, and the car merging always has to give way. Of course in reality people treat it as a merge.

This also reminds me of when shoulders end, like the line just stops. In this situation a cyclist in the shoulder has to give way, as the shoulder is classified anything to the left of the line, when the line stops there is no longer any shoulder and you must give way when returning to the road from the shoulder. This also applies when you are leaving the shoulder to cross an intersection.
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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby InTheWoods » Sun Aug 14, 2011 10:18 pm

Well there you go, I wasn't fully aware of the road shoulder thing. So does that include an on-road "bike lane" - the brisbane style ones which just involve yellow bicycles painted on the edge lines?

I have seen cyclists at an intersection pass a row of queued cars on the left, but then stop on a section of tarmac with painted cross hatches (kind of like a painted island) and then wait there for the lights to go green. To me this means they have to give way to the cars so there's no point in doing what they do. As you normally get through on the first change of lights I just end up queuing with the cars and take the middle of the lane. Personally I still haven't quite figured out the exact rules that apply to passing queued cars on the left - in particular rejoining the traffic up the front. The rules say something about "when safe" and I hardly ever feel safe doing it - usually only when its a single lane each way and the lanes are very wide.
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Re: Common road rule misunderstandings

Postby human909 » Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:52 am

myforwik wrote:Which brings me to another misconception: If the lights are flashing orange the 'main road' has the right of way. You see this all the time at a 4 lane road crossing a 2 lane road. No one gives way to the right.

Misconception? No, just idiots.

I've seen drivers blast through intersections at 60kph and 80kph where the lights are out (due to power failure) so effectively in becomes an uncontrolled intersection. Bloody idiots. People are so use to control that they have no idea how to behave when it doesn't exist.

They see lights as 'stop only if red'. Whereas they should see as 'should be safe to proceed only if green'
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