Pelican crossings not safer

(posted by Janine Griffis on behalf of member) I do have a comment which may be useful and it would be appreciated if you would put this forward on my behalf. The subject is pedestrian crossing types. You may know that Living Streets (formerly the Pedestrian Association) has done quite a lot of work in this area. I have attached a Department of Transport report showing the numbers of accidents at the different crossing types and there are also some useful TfL studies. There is a risk that the desire to provide for greater accessibility may mistakenly lead people to favour controlled crossing points (pelicans, puffins etc.) above zebra crossings. I believe that this in fact runs contrary to the evidence, which is that zebra crossings in built-up areas are safer for residents as a whole. In addition to their many other benefits (greater aesthetic appeal, ease of use, lack of noise and reduced vehicle emissions) the zebra crossing has a unique safety advantage over its alternatives in built-up environments. This is because in the case of controlled crossings, the driver looks only at the traffic light and is in many cases oblivious of the pedestrian. In the case of zebra crossings, the driver looks for the pedestrian and modifies their behaviour accordingly. The figures in the attached table show that serious injuries to pedestrians at zebra crossings are half those of other crossing types. Whilst the exact numbers of crossings in the UK appears to be unknown a report "Levels of Accident Risk in Greater London" by the London Road Safety Unit, indicates the number of zebra and pelican/puffin crossings in the Greater London area as 2448 and 2267 respectively, so the percentage risk at a zebra crossing is lower still. I believe these benefiits more than outweigh other factors and far from looking to reduce the number of zebra crossings within the area, we should be seeking ways instead to increase their number and improve their accessibility, perhaps through the use of new technology and profiled pavement surfaces to assist partially sighted people in identifying them with ease. The introduction of a 20mph speed limit across the Borough has tilted the balance even further in the direction of zebra crossings, to the point where they should become the default design for all future crossing points in the neighbourhood, unless strong countervailing conditions exist. The 20mph zone also changes the dynamics on many of our streets and makes this the ideal time to review our existing controlled crossing points, particularly in Hampstead town, with a view to their gradual replacement with zebra crossings where appropriate. I hope this is helpful and would be happy arrange a brief presentation if that would assist.


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  • published this page in Accessibility 2015-11-16 09:33:19 +0000