About other road users

Sharing the road

Sharing the road with pedestrians

On average, 36 pedestrians are killed and 1000 pedestrians are injured on New Zealand roads every year.

Many of these deaths and injuries could be prevented if drivers took more care when using our roads.

Please look out for pedestrians whenever you're behind the wheel.

Pedestrian safety for drivers

  • Always be ready to stop near schools, bus stops and pedestrian crossings.
  • Be careful when driving past parked vehicles. Pedestrians may walk out without warning.
  • You must slow down to 20km/h when passing or coming towards a school bus that has stopped to let children on or off, no matter which side of the road you are on.
  • Watch out for elderly people or people with disabilities.
  • Take special care near roadside stalls and parked vendors. Pedestrians visiting these may forget to watch for traffic when crossing the road.

Pedestrian crossings

A pedestrian crossing is an area of road that has white stripes marked across it. It is used by pedestrians and people using mobility devices (such as motorised wheelchairs and similar devices) and wheeled recreational vehicles (such as skateboards and foot-propelled scooters).

Some crossings have raised islands in the middle, creating a ‘refuge' where pedestrians can stop. These are helpful for pedestrians crossing wide, two-way roads or multi-laned roads, because they allow them to walk across one direction of traffic at a time.

As you drive towards a pedestrian crossing, you will see pedestrian crossing signs before the crossing and black and white poles at the crossing. The poles are mounted with fluorescent orange disks, or round yellow lights that flash at night. White diamonds are generally painted on the road before the crossing, and a white limit line shows you where to stop.

When coming up to pedestrian crossings:

  • slow down and be ready to stop for any pedestrians stepping onto, or on, the crossing – this also includes people obviously waiting to use the crossing
  • if there is no raised traffic island in the middle of the crossing, stop and give way to pedestrians on any part of the crossing
  • if there is a raised traffic island in the middle of the crossing, stop and give way to pedestrians on your half of the road
  • wait until the pedestrian has crossed in front of you and is clear of your vehicle before you proceed - see give way rules.
Picture of a pedestrian crossing

Pedestrian crossing

Picture of a pedestrian crossing with a raised island in the middle

Pedestrian crossing with raised island

If you find yourself in a queue of traffic near a pedestrian crossing, don't move onto the crossing if there isn't enough room for your vehicle on the other side of the crossing.

Important

Never overtake a vehicle that is slowing down for a pedestrian crossing or has stopped to let someone cross.

Courtesy crossings

Courtesy crossings are usually made of bricks or paving and are often raised above the level of the road.

Although not official pedestrian crossings, they do provide a place for pedestrians to cross. Drivers should be courteous to pedestrians using a courtesy crossing.

Picture of a courtesy crossing

Courtesy crossing

Shared zone

This is a road that has been designed to slow traffic and give priority to pedestrians. Drivers give way to pedestrians who, in turn, should not impede traffic.

School crossings

School crossings, also known as kea crossings, provide a safe place for children to cross the road. They generally only operate before and after school.

When school crossings are operating, a fluorescent orange Children sign will be displayed, along with a School Patrol Stop sign, which swings out into the road.

When the School Patrol Stop sign is out, vehicles coming from both directions must stop and stay stopped until all signs have been pulled in.

Picture of a School Patrol Stop sign

School Patrol Stop

What children would like drivers to know

  • Children are not little adults, so don't expect them to act as adults do.
  • Children, especially those under the age of nine, may not have the skills and abilities needed to be safe in traffic. Be very careful when driving near them.
  • Young children have narrow vision. This means they may not see vehicles as easily as adults do.
  • Children have trouble judging the speed of moving vehicles. They may let a slow vehicle pass and try to cross in front of a fast one.
  • Children often don't understand that it takes time for a vehicle to stop.
  • Children may have difficulty working out where sounds are coming from.
  • Because children are small, they often can't see over bushes and parked vehicles. This also means they can't be seen easily by drivers.
  • Children tend to think about one thing at a time and ignore other things happening around them.
  • Because children are always on the move, they may have trouble stopping at a kerb and could dart out into traffic.
  • Children can freeze when they find themselves in danger, instead of taking quick action as an adult might.

Keep a lookout for children at all times. Take special care when driving during 8–9am and 3–4pm, when children are travelling to and from school.

Blind and vision-impaired pedestrians

People who are blind or vision-impaired often use aids such as a white cane or a guide dog. When drivers see people with these aids trying to cross the road, they should take extra care and let them cross in their own time.

When leaving and entering driveways

When you are entering or leaving a driveway that crosses a footpath, you must give way to people using the footpath.

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Last updated: 4 October 2012