The AA Legal Eagle takes a look at the long arm of the law and whether it extends permission for people to walk on or cross a freeway on foot. It’s one thing if you’re the only one on the highway and you’re driving at 120km/h, and quite another if a pedestrian suddenly appears in front of your car. This is especially a problem at night when you won’t be able to see them until you are too close and don’t have enough distance between your vehicle and the pedestrian to come to a stop.
Although in some areas barriers have been built between carriageways, it is still reported that jay, or “highjay” walkers expend considerable energy climbing over these in their quest to get to the other side quicker.
The law lays out the rules very simply about whether or not pedestrians are allowed on the freeways of South Africa. In terms of the National Road Traffic Act 93 of 1996, Regulation 323, no person is allowed on the freeway on foot. There are however three exceptions to this rule, but only three.
The first exception applies if you are within an area reserved for the stopping or parking of vehicles, indicated by an appropriate road traffic sign. The second is if there is a cause beyond a person’s control - such as if your car breaks down or you are involved in an accident on the highway. The third and final exception is if you are performing service in the Citizen Force as per the Defence Act. This is allowed between the junction of an off-ramp and the junction of an on-ramp on the left-hand side of the roadway, unless a Road Traffic sign forbids the presence of such person on such freeway or junction.
“Jay walking on highways is not only illegal, but exceedingly dangerous. With at least 40% of annual road fatalities being pedestrians, not only are they putting themselves in mortal danger but also endangering the lives of motorists and their passengers” says Gary Ronald, Head of Public Affairs at the Automobile Association.
Automobile Association of South Africa (AA)
011 799 1180