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Zebra crossing - heading for extinction?

Thursday 3rd November 2011

60 years after its introduction, the zebra crossing is being replaced by more modern pedestrian crossings, reports the Guardian.

More than 1,000 zebra crossings have gone in the past five years, and many thousands more have been replaced by higher-tech pelicans (red, amber and green lights for drivers; red and green men for pedestrians) and puffins (like pelicans, but with added sensors).

Andrew Howard, the AA's head of road safety, said: “Essentially, drivers don't take as much notice of zebra crossings as they should because there's no red light telling them to stop, and pedestrians don't feel as safe as they do with a signal telling them when to cross.”

According to the Guardian, road safety experts have long argued that because zebras, launched in Britain in 1951, give priority to pedestrians but do not actively slow vehicles down, they may elicit unsafe behaviour from both.

The Guardian report cites research by the New Zealand Transport Agency which suggests that a zebra without any traffic slowing measures could actually increase pedestrian accidents by 28%. Combined with a speed bump, however, it reduced them by 80%. In Britain, five people died on zebra crossings last year and 144 were injured.

Click here to read the full Guardian report.

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And yet in Rotherham at least 8 Zebra Crossing have been introduced in the last 4 years. 3 within the last month. All within 3 metres of a roundabout entry/exit.
A Miller

Interestingly the small number of records on UK-MoRSE where a zebra crossing was the primary component of a safety scheme shows a negative safety benefit but with a large margin for error. In other words zebras can't be regarded as a safe bet for reducing collisions, agreeing with the sentiment above.. www.uk-morse.com
Mike Mounfield, Birmingham