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Driver ignorance blamed for accidents at pedestrian crossings

Driver ignorance blamed for accidents at pedestrian crossings

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Research finds nearly four-fifths of drivers unable to identify a pelican crossing and more than a quarter didn’t recognise a zebra crossing

Drivers who can’t recognise basic pedestrian crossings have reached ‘worrying’ levels, a safety investigation has revealed.

A survey of 2,000 adults by car insurer Admiral shows that a staggering 79 per cent of motorists were unable to recognise a pelican crossing – while more than nine out of 10 (92 per cent) couldn’t identify a toucan crossing.

More than a quarter of drivers – 27 per cent – didn’t even recognise a zebra crossing.

On average, 15 pedestrians are seriously injured and one is killed on the UK’s roads every day. That equates to more than 5,800 victims a year. According to Admiral’s research, a third of pedestrians have had a near miss at a pedestrian crossing – rising to half of all those questioned in the 25-34 age bracket.

It isn’t just drivers not knowing their crossings, either. As many as 60 per cent of pedestrians were unaware of the meaning of symbols such as the flashing green figure.

Nearly 60 per cent of pedestrians also admitted to ignoring light instructions and crossing anyway – or ‘jaywalking’ – and of the pedestrians who’ve had near misses, 30 per cent said they weren’t looking properly or were distracted.

However, 40 per cent blamed the driver, saying that the car that nearly hit them simply ignored traffic signals and didn’t stop.

Sabine Williams, head of motor at Admiral, said: “What’s worrying about these findings is how little both drivers and pedestrians understand about the designated crossings and what the rules are for safely using them.

“More needs to be done to make sure all road users know what their responsibilities are when it comes to crossing, so we can see a reduction in the number of accidents taking place.”

Pedestrian Crossing

Zebra crossings are easily identified by their characteristic stripes on the road. They have no traffic symbols, but drivers are required to give way to pedestrians waiting to cross.

Pelican crossings use traffic signals for drivers and pedestrians, activated by a pedestrian-operated switch. Pedestrians are required to push a button and wait for a green crossing symbol before they step out on to the road.

Toucan crossings allow cyclists to cross the road at the same time as pedestrians.

Meanwhile, a pegasus crossing lets horse riders cross as well, while puffin crossings, which have replaced pelican crossings, rely on sensors and pressure-sensitive areas to detect when no more pedestrians are waiting to cross.