When is a Road in a Gated Estate regarded as a Public Road?

In recent months several visitors to the Arrive Alive website has complained about other road users driving recklessly and with a disregards for the safety of others within gated estates. We would like to use as an example one such an email sent to the Arrive Alive website:

Question:

“I have read your article on rules of the road and road safety in gated estates wherin you state that the”private roads ” so often referred to are in fact Public Roads and fall under the Road Traffic Act 96 of 1996. I have an issue at the moment where a 4 year old child on his bike was allowed onto the “private road” in our estate without any adult supervision and coliided with our car because he could not stop. Our vehicle was stationery. We are taking the parents to the small claims court because they claim that children have the right of way in the estate according to the conduct rules of the HOA of the estate and refuse to pay damages.

The child was riding down the road ,which is one way, in the wrong direction. The collision accured because he was not visible to our vehicle as we came round a 90 degree corner. We were able to stop in time but not the child who collided with the front of our vehicle.

Where in the road traffic act does it say that the rules of the road on a public road also apply in estates ? We are attempting to prove negligence on the part of the mother. I would appreciate a comment and or the relevant reference in the act pertaining to road rules in estates.”

Answer:

The relevant provisions are the definition of a public road and the presumption on public roads – section 69.
“public road” means any road, street or thoroughfare or any other place (whether a thoroughfare or not) which is commonly used by the public or any section thereof or to which the public or any section thereof has a right of access, and includes—
(a)        the verge of any such road, street or thoroughfare;
(b)        any bridge, ferry or drift traversed by any such road, street or thoroughfare; and
(c)        any other work or object forming part of or connected with or belonging to such road, street or thoroughfare;
Sec 69.    Presumptions regarding public road, freeway and public road in urban area
(1)        Where in any prosecution in terms of this Act it is alleged that an offence was committed on a public road, the road concerned shall, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, be presumed to be a public road.
(2)        Where in any prosecution in terms of this Act it is alleged that an offence was committed on a freeway, the road concerned shall, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, be deemed to be a freeway.
(3)        Where in any prosecution in terms of this Act it is alleged that an offence was committed on a public road in an urban area, the road concerned shall, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, be presumed to be a public road in an urban area.

Alta Swanepoel

Rules of the Road and Road Safety within Gated Estates and Communities

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