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What is defined as “jaywalking” in South Africa? When are pedestrians allowed to walk on a road?

Jaywalking, in colloquial terms, is defined as the illegal or reckless crossing of a roadway by a pedestrian. This not a legal term in South African law, therefore it does not have its own charge code in our criminal law and procedure.

Regulation 316 of the National Road Traffic Act sets out the duties of a pedestrian and further specifies where a pedestrian may cross a road and under what circumstances they may do so. 

Firstly, a pedestrian may cross a public road only at a pedestrian crossing or an intersection or at a distance further than 50 metres from a pedestrian crossing or intersection. 

Secondly, a pedestrian may only attempt such crossing when he has satisfied himself that it is safe for him to make this crossing and does not pose a danger to other road users.  

There are duties and obligations placed on pedestrians however, a greater duty of care is placed on the driver of the vehicle when it comes to reacting to pedestrians on the road, and this will impact greatly on the issues of liability should it arise.

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