If you’ve ever been behind a bus and wondered what the sign is with the green bus, green arrow and red car, you’re not alone.
- Buses have the right of way when leaving the curb
- Don’t expect the bus to see you if you can’t see in its mirrors
- Fines and demerits may apply
It is not to say that bus drivers have the right of way in all situations, but there are specifically stated situations that require other road users to give way to the bus. Most of the different iterations of the law refer back to Australian Road Regulation 77, Giving Way to Buses:
“A driver driving along a road in a built-up area, in the left lane or left lane of traffic, must give way to a bus in front of the driver if:
- (a) the bus has stopped, or is moving slowly, on the far left side of the road, on the shoulder of the road, or in the bus stop space, and
- (b) the bus displays the route sign to the bus and the right direction indicator light of the bus is in operation, and
- (c) the bus is about to enter or proceed in the lane or lane of traffic in which the driver is driving.”
follow NSW Transportation: “Drivers of other vehicles must give way to buses that display a yield sign in a built-up area, when the bus is about to enter or proceed in a lane or traffic lane, and the bus is in front of the driver. “
In NSW the penalties are quite severe if you are found to have failed to yield to a bus, up to $349 and three demerit points.
It’s similar in Queensland: “When you are driving in a built-up area and the speed limit is 70km/h or less, you must give way to a bus displaying a bus route sign on the right rear side, and signal to enter traffic from:
- bus zone, bus stop or bus stop space
- the shoulder of the road, or the left side of the road
Likewise in QLD, you can get over a three demerit point, $258 penalty for “failing to give way to a bus leaving a bus stop on a road in a built-up area with a marked speed limit not exceeding 70 km/h”.
The Northern Territory The road rulebook states, as above, that drivers “must give way to buses in all of the following situations:
- in a speed zone of 70 kilometers per hour or below
- if the bus displays a sign give way to the bus
- if the bus indicator light is operating
- if the bus is about to enter or proceed in a lane or lane of traffic
However NT The Traffic Regulations do not specify any penalties for failing to give way to buses.
The ACT has an applicable law for failure to yield to a bus, which states “drivers in the left lane/traffic lane/bicycle lane fail to yield to a bus”. It could cost you three demerits and $307 if you get caught.
Further, a good reminder from Tasmania, that “the speed limit is 40 km/h when you are within 50 meters of a bus displaying a school bus warning sign and school bus warning lights.”
Victoria, the land of trams, has no specific law on giving way to buses, and neither does South Australia. But the latter has a “failure to yield when changing lanes” rule, which can get you three points and a $388 fine.
Western Australia has no bus rules that we could find, but has several offenses that may apply to yielding: failure to yield when merging – $100 fine, two demerits; fail to yield when changing lanes – $100 fine, three demerits.
Fun fact – did you know that in most jurisdictions, bus drivers are required to indicate for five (5) seconds before pulling over from a stationary position on the side of the road?
Indeed, the QLD Transport page states that “buses, like all other vehicles” must show for five seconds. I bet you didn’t put on your blinkers and count your Mississippi the last time you left the curb!
Not intended as legal advice. Check with the relevant road authorities in your state or territory.