A misunderstanding or misinformation when it comes to pedestrians

Everyone needs to cross the road. This obvious fact can be overlooked when we take our place in the street hierarchy as a driver, cyclist or pedestrian. Roads are simply a means to an end and, however we travel, we seem to want precedence over those other groups, even if we may be part of them when making other journeys.

But pedestrians, without the protection of a metal box around them or even a crash helmet, are the most vulnerable to being potential victims.

To an extent, road design takes account of that, with those on foot able to hold up the traffic at the press of a button at pelican crossings or a zebra crossing where a pedestrian has the right of way. It’s a great leveller – so long as vehicles or cyclists don’t ignore the lights.

The Beatles brought international fame to the zebra crossing in 1969 with their album cover, now Mayo County Council, the Gardai and other groups are trying to raise awareness around a zebra crossings in the county this week.

Zebra crossings are essential safety features commonly used on popular routes to schools, shopping centres and parks. But when drivers fail to give way to pedestrians, it can have deadly consequences.

The zebra crossing awareness campaign is being launched as we see all age groups out walking our towns and villages and utilising the many different crossings .

Cathaoirleach of the Roads and Transportation SPC, Cllr Damien Ryan, said: "The pedestrian, or zebra, crossing is intended to guarantee pedestrians and wheelchair users a safe way of crossing the road.

"Unfortunately, accidents at zebra crossings are all too common nationwide so extra care and a better understanding of zebra crossing is called for. We are calling on drivers to play their part in protecting the lives of pedestrians, and to allow them to safely walk through designated areas when crossing the road.”

"This crossing has black and white stripes (like a zebra ) with orange flashing beacons at each end. A Zebra crossing gives the pedestrian right of way once their foot is on the crossing. However pedestrians must make sure that all the traffic has stopped before crossing and they should keep looking and listening as they cross.

Ryan added: "Pedestrians and motorists are equally responsible for pedestrian safety. Pedestrians can’t do much to improve a driver’s habits, just like drivers can’t do anything about pedestrian behaviours. We all must take responsibility to follow the law, pay attention and share the road”.

"We welcome any infrastructure that facilitates the free and safe movement of people within our towns and may attract more customers to a pedestrian friendly town. So if a pedestrian has stepped onto the road, it's your responsibility as a driver to stop and allow them to reach the other side safely.

"And even if the pedestrian has passed your lane of traffic, you must still wait for them to cross the entire road - not just out of your driving lane.”

The Road Safety Office of Mayo County Council has produced leaflets to explain the rules and laws around various types of pedestrian crossings

Zebra crossing: This is marked by yellow flashing beacons. The actual crossing area is marked by black and white ‘zebra’ stripes. Drivers must stop to let you cross. As they approach the crossing, they should slow and be prepared to stop. They must stop behind the stop line if there is one and must not enter any part of the crossing.

Drivers: (1 ) Must not overtake or park within areas covered by zig-zag markings on either side of the crossing. You do not have the right-of-way over other traffic until you actually step onto the crossing. Never step onto the crossing if this would cause a driver to brake or swerve suddenly; (2 ) You must not cross within the area marked by zig-zag white lines if these are provided on either side of a zebra crossing. If they are not provided, you must not cross within 15 metres of the crossing and (3 ) If there is a central island, treat each side as a separate crossing.

Always watch carefully for approaching traffic. Place one foot on the crossing to indicate that you wish to cross. Wait until traffic has stopped before you start crossing.

 

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