Advice for pedestrians

Advice for Pedestrians.

Pedestrian deaths account for 1 in 5 deaths on our roads. Walking is an everyday activity for most people. Walking, even recreational walking, involves mixing with other pedestrian's, cyclists and motorists. Pedestrians need to behave responsibly, exercise care and not endanger or inconvenience other users of the road when walking.

Walking beside or along a road

  • If there is a footpath you must use it.
  • If there is no footpath, you must walk as near as possible to the right hand side of the road facing the oncoming traffic.
  • Do not walk more than two abreast. If the road is narrow or carries heavy traffic you should walk in single file.
  • You should always wear reflective clothing when walking outside built up areas at night.
  • You should always carry a torch when walking at night.

Crossing the road


  • Look for a safe place to cross.
  • Stop and wait near the edge of the road.
  • Look right and left and listen for traffic.
  • Let any traffic travelling in each direction pass and than look right and left again.
  • Walk quickly across the road when it is clear.
  • Continue to watch and listen for oncoming traffic while crossing.


  • Cross at a corner or bend in the road.
  • Cross near the brow of a hill.
  • Cross near or at parked vehicles.
  • Cross where there are guard rails along the footpath.
  • Run across the road.

Safe crossing places

Zebra Crossing

This is marked by yellow flashing beacons. The actual crossing area is marked by black and white zebra stripes. Drivers must let you cross. As they approach the crossing, they should slow down and be prepared to stop. You do not have the right of way over other traffic until you actually step on the zebra crossing. Never step, onto the crossing if this would cause a driver to break or swerve suddenly. If there is a central island, treat each side as a separate crossing. Always watch carefully for approaching traffic. Place one foot on the crossing to indicate that you wish to cross.

Pedestrian Lights

Pedestrian lights consist of a set of traffic lights for drivers and a set of light signals for pedestrians. When you press the button the lights for the oncoming traffic will turn red after a short while. While the "red man" light is showing, you do not cross. When the "green man" light is showing you can then cross carefully. If there is a central island at the pedestrian lights, the "green man" light will only allow you to cross as far as the island. You must press another button before you can cross the rest of the way. For vision-impaired pedestrians an audible bleep signal or vibrating panel on the push button may be in place to indicate when it is safe to cross.

Pelican Crossing

At this crossing, an amber light will flash for a short while after the red light for drivers goes out. Similarly, the "green man" light for pedestrians will flash for a short time before changing to the "red man" light. A flashing amber light at a pelican crossing gives priority to pedestrians.

Traffic Lights

If you are crossing at traffic lights, but there are no signals for pedestrian, check the lights in both directions. When the traffic on the road you wish to cross is governed by a red light, cross carefully. Look out for traffic that might be turning onto the road you wish to cross and remember that some traffic lights allow drivers to proceed in some lanes when other lanes are stopped. Be especially careful at junctions with filter lanes.

Walking at night

Visibility on roads and paths is often poor at night.

  • Be seen - Always wear reflective clothing when walking at night, e.g. Armband, jacket. Also carry a flash light to increase your visibility.
  • Be safe - Walk with someone else or somewhere where people can see you.

If you have any questions or queries regarding road safety, please contact us using the details below.

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