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Road safety charity calls for updates to modernise zebra crossings

Zebra crossings need updating, according to a road safety charity, as around 70 people are killed on the crossings each year.

The number of people killed on zebra crossings has almost doubled since 2013 - so does this mean a change is in order to match our fast-paced modern society?

There also seems to be confusion from motorists who are unsure when you are legally meant to give way to pedestrians.

Gary Herbert, partner and senior personal injury solicitor at Potter Rees Dolan, said:

I currently represent a young client injured at a zebra crossing when she was struck by a motorist who failed to yield at a zebra crossing. My client sustained a severe life-changing brain injury and will continue to living with the consequences of this injury for the rest of her life.

Brake, the road safety charity, is calling for the government to create new road solutions to ensure pedestrians can safely cross the road.

New technology could be introduced such as light and sensor technology as zebra crossings have not been updated since the 1960s when only six million cars were on the roads compared to 31.7 million today.

According to Direct Line, just under a fifth (19%) of Brits have had a near miss at a zebra crossing in the last twelve months.

Gary Herbert continued:

Whilst I echo Brake’s call for better road solutions, I would prefer not to wait until these crossings are replaced before acting. The law relating to zebra crossings is unhelpful and can be confusing. Most people are aware that cars should yield to pedestrians at such crossings, but the point at which the cars should yield is often misunderstood.

The Highway Code indicates that a car must give way, “…when a pedestrian has moved onto a crossing.” This creates a situation where a patient pedestrian waiting at the kerb edge is not afforded priority until they step into the road. The effect is to actively encourage pedestrians to step into the path of vehicles travelling at 30mph or more in an effort to force the motorists to give way, and trusting that they will stop in time. Moreover, motorists are placed in a difficult position as, whilst the Highway Code warns them to be aware of pedestrians approaching the crossing, the difference in priority over the space can change in a fraction of a second.

I believe that a simple change in the Highway Code to afford priority to those pedestrians waiting on the approach to a crossing would help to clarify the rules for motorists and pedestrians alike, and hopefully prevent some of those injured each year

Gary Herbert is a senior personal injury solicitor with Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about road traffic accidents or any other personal injury issues and wish to speak to Gary or any other member of the team please contact us on 0161 237 5888 or email Gary through the contact form here..