You may have seen it done. You may have done it yourself. You know the situation – there’s a little pimple on the road that is pretending to be a ‘proper’ roundabout, so you drive over the top of it.
- Roundabout rules are many, varied, and complex
- States may apply the rules differently
- Driving over a central traffic island, however, is not legal
If you do that, you may be breaking the law. Not to make a mountain of out a molehill or anything, but roundabouts are designed for you to drive around, not over.
That’s the purpose of these traffic management islands, that the driver of a vehicle must enter from the left (in Australia, at least), and shouldn’t drive over the top of the manmade structure.
If you do, you could be fined. The model Australian Road Rules 2014, regulation 115, is the rule most referenced by the individual jurisdictions around the country. It states:
Driving in a roundabout:
(1) A driver driving in a roundabout must drive–
- (a) to the left of the central traffic island in the roundabout, or
- (b) if subrule (2) applies to the driver–on the edge of the central traffic island, to the left of the centre of the island, or
- (c) if subrule (3) applies to the driver–over the central traffic island, as near as practicable to the left of the centre of the island.
- (a) the driver’s vehicle is too large to drive in the roundabout without driving on the edge of the central traffic island, and
- (b) the driver can safely drive on the edge of the central traffic island;
- (a) the driver’s vehicle is too large to drive in the roundabout without driving over the central traffic island, and
- (b) the central traffic island is designed to allow a vehicle of that kind to be driven over it, and (c) the driver can safely drive over the central traffic island.
So, if you are driving a big vehicle and the roundabout allows you to pass over it, you can legally do that. But if you’re in a Jimny and you go around jumping the humps, then you could be fined.
In NSW, if you were to face court, the maximum fine would be 20 penalty units, or $2200. More likely, you’ll be fined $272 and lose 4 demerits.
Queensland? Same story. If you end up in court, you could face a $3096 fine. Ouch.
Victoria enforces the same ruling, with a potential on-the-spot fine of $272, and 2 demerit points applicable.
Tasmania has a 2-demerit point offence, with a $243.75 fine on the spot applicable.
South Australia’s interpretation of Road Rule 115 could land you a $499 fine if you’re found to do the wrong thing.
In the ACT, otherwise known as the land of the roundabout, there’s a court-imposed maximum penalty of 20 units, or $3200, for failing to drive to the left of the roundabout.
We couldn’t find any applicable Northern Territory legislation specific to Road Rule 115 – but are there even roundabouts in the Top End? If you live there, let us know in the comments.
Not intended as legal advice. Check with the relevant roads authority in your state or territory.