Motor & Traffic Law – Pedestrians disobeying traffic lights

In Kigetzis v Roche 19/12/14 [2014] VSC 657 per Rush J, P was injured when struck by a motor vehicle whilst walking across a pedestrian crossing.  After hearing evidence from witnesses His Honour found as a fact that the walk signal was red for P. P “did not check the lights, or for traffic, immediately prior to crossing the intersection. He had no regard to his own safety or to that of other road users” @29. Nevertheless, D driver was found negligent. He was aware, for at least 8 seconds, that a bus and car were stationary at the lights after they had changed to green. This, combined with D’s lack of vision of the pedestrian crossing due to the bus demanded caution on his part. He did not control his vehicle “in such a way that the driver may know what is happening in the vicinity of the vehicle in time to take reasonable steps to react to those events” per Manley v Alexander [2005] HCA 79. D should also have borne in mind the devastating injury that a car approaching a crossing could do to a pedestrian. For his part, P failed to comply with the fundamental obligations of a reasonable pedestrian. Though he showed a lack of due care D did enter the intersection legally with a green light and at a permitted speed. It was just and equitable that P’s damages be reduced by 60%.