Talk:Zebra crossing

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previous edit removed[edit]

A previous edit removed the "in the UK" bit.

While striped crossings exist in many countries (which?), the "zebra" in the UK is different: it is a crossing with no traffic lights, where pedestrians have priority. As soon as a pedestrian steps onto the road, cars are required to stop if they can do so safely. AFAIk, this is not the case in other countries (certainly not in Canada, my Canadian uncle was shocked, nay outraged when he saw these) -- Tarquin

In the Netherlands zebra crossings with traffic lights also occur. If there aren't any, above rule applies. Fransvannes 15:44 Dec 16, 2002 (UTC)
Let's add this to the main page?  :-) --KQ
In the US there are striped crossings both with and without lights and signals to tell you when to cross. I don't know about all the other states, but in Washington State, the rules Tarquin describes apply at all striped crossings without electric signals. They apply even more broadly, in fact; drivers are supposed to obey that same rule at all intersections without signals, regardless of whether the street has been marked with stripes. Of course, an American would never say "Zebra crossing", and I'm not clear on all the subtleties of how it differs from "crosswalk". --Ryguasu

Australia and New Zealand, same as UK. Tannin

In the UK, zebra crossings never have lights : the striped road marking is used only for crossings with no lights & pedestrian rights of way -- Tarquin

Question for Brits: does a "Zebra crossing" have only two parallel lines, or might it also have crosshatches between those two lines, a checkerboard pattern, or some other kind of design? --Ryguasu

No checkerboard crossings in the UK. Mintguy 19:22 Dec 16, 2002 (UTC)
More than two stripes also, unless it's a very narrow road ;). --Lezek

Maybe the article needs to explicitly mention the direction of the stripes! parallel to the flow of traffic; perpendicular to the flow of pedestrians. About 40-50 cm wide I think -- Tarquin

A diagram from above would be a fairly simple affair. I might do one. -- Sam
even simpler: link the Beatles picture ;) -- Tarquin
hmm does this constitute fair use of copyright material? --Lezek
I did wonder that. -- Sam
In case nobody's mentioned it, the dark stripes are always nearest the kerb, at least in the UK. Lee M 01:26, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

The description of toucan crossing fits better the etymology of "puffin crossing" than that of "toucan crossing". Which is right? -phma

I've seen a puffin crossing, and that sounds nothing like one. A puffin is one where the traffic lights can detect whether or not there's anyone crossing. -- Sam

We shouldn't use the Abbey Road image - it is fair use and far outside its direct context here. [[User:Sverdrup|Sverdrup❞]] 14:56, 11 Sep 2004 (UTC)

there is one near my house. I'll try to get a picture in the next few days. -- Tarquin 15:23, 20 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Very western centric way of introducing an article[edit]

THis is how the article starts

"A zebra crossing is a type of pedestrian crossing or crosswalk used in the UK, Australia, USA, Canada and Europe, and increasingly around the world."

Common dude, considering all the other methods that can serve zebra crossing role require some kind of technology, would that automatically mean zebra crossing use is more prolific in the third world countries. In another word, mentioning those countries is kind of unnecessary, isn't it?

I think that the key is the combination of the iconic animal name (zebra), strips on the road and UK origin. Similar crossing may exist in other jurisdictions, but the UK (and Australia and NZ) have the "pure" form, with stripes on the road and a requirement for vehicles to stop and/or give way to pedestrians. Not sure if Zebra is used in the crossing name in other countries (Asutralia doesn't use any of the other type names, and the zebra is slowly falling out of use as various other forms of crossing proliferate). Alex Law 08:52, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Netherlands and Scandinavia[edit]

In the Netherlands and Scandinavia, pedestrians have right of way only if they are standing close to the zebra crossing on the side of the road.

This doesn't appear to make a lot of sense! How can someone "standing close to the zebra crossing" (and therefore not moving) have right of way, while someone actually walking over the crossing does not have it? -- Picapica 22:55, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

According to the website of the Swedish National Road Administration [1], drivers must stop if pedestrians are crossing, and also if pedestrians are about to cross the road. The law was changed on 1 May 2000, and the linked website is about a campaign, Zkona zebrafolket (approximately Zave the zebra people), to inform about the new law. I don't know about the rest of Scandinavia though. / 13:25, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
A curiosity regarding Finland is that in many cases of crossings of a multi-use path and a road, motorists do not have to stop for bicyclists, not even if the bicyclist has stopped and is waiting, but they do have to stop for pedestrians. Few do either. (Motorists should give way for bicyclists if they're turning themselves over a crossing multi-use path, or there's a yield sign -- which are rare -- but they do not have to stop for bicyclists in a simple crossing of a multi-use path and a single road, but should let pedestrians over the road. Rollerskaters etc. are counted as pedestrians, btw. Smells like anti-bicycling discrimination.)
This is an error with the authors' english skill. The correct would be "even when", not "only if". If you have reason to assume that someone is about to cross, then not stopping is a traffic moving violation. This is not the case if you have a traffic light. In Norway, a policeman has authority over a traffic light, which has authority over roadsigns which has authority over road marking. A zebra crossing is a road marking. I would have corrected in the article, but I have no idea where to look for a citation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:57, 19 March 2009 (UTC)


According to the dates given belisha beacons predate zebra crossings? Neither this article or belisha beacon appear to explain what they were originally used for, in that case. Morwen - Talk 20:25, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

I believe the crossings do predate the stripes. They were originally marked only by the beacons and a row of studs along their edges. The stripes were added, I'd imagine, very soon afterward when the Ministry of Transport realised the crossings were almost invisible to drivers! Lee M 01:26, 5 July 2006 (UTC)


Shouldn't this be merged with the article Pedestrian crossing? they're just two names for one thing. Mlkdts 02:38, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

That's mostly true, but this article is too UK-centric. It does not mention anything about zebra crosswalks in any other country. Admiral Norton (talk) 17:28, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
I support a merge, with a re-direct page. Presumably, the UK-centric problem would be fixed in a merger, or fixed later. (talk) 21:09, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

9000 zebra crossings in one year?[edit]

Someone has changed the number of zebras created in the first year to "over 9000". This seems highly unlikely to me, representing as it does 173 constructed every week of that year. But I suppose it is possible. Is there a source for this? Rachel Pearce (talk) 16:46, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

On the internets, "over 9000" is just a 'cool' way of saying 'many'.
-- (talk) 03:45, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
That is a ridiculous response. I am trying to imagine what would make it seem appropriate to replace a specific known quantity in a reliability-based encyclopedia with a slang term for an unknown quantity derived from a minority interest foreign language storybook for children. For the record:
Wikipedia articles should be based on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy.
I hope (talk) can see that Wikipedia would cease to be useful if editors routinely removed factual information and intentionally replace it with false information. If unfamiliar with the policies, guidelines and rules for editing Wikipedia, please start by reading the New contributors' help page. Similar edits in the future might be considered as forms of vandalism. ChrisJBenson (talk) 13:24, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
In minor response to Rachel Pearce (talk): Don't tell "anyone else" but 9,000 zebra crossings in a year would definitely have been possible. These were only conversions of existing pedestrian crossings with studs and Belisha beacons to zebra crossings by painting the stripes. This source (under the 1951 entry) states that all 1,000 conversions were performed in one week (of 1949). I guess it wasn't just one guy! The same source clearly states they were black and white stripes from the start, contradicting the article's blue and yellow stripes claim. Blue and yellow stripes would cost at least twice as much (the "black" stripes aren't really there). I see black and white as a much more likely choice, due to the reduced cost for minimal night-time difference, not to mention "anatomically correct" zebra stripe colours(!) Thanks for addressing the gnomes! ChrisJBenson (talk) 13:24, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

Do zebra crossings reduce pedestrian risk?[edit]

I was in a discussion today, which is the reason why I entered this page.

Someone argued that the zebra crossings give a false sense of security, and therefore should be removed. If anybody wants to argue that it is ridiculous, I'll be the first to agree. However, if anybody has something available, then this article might be the place to put it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:21, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

See Pedestrian_crossing#Safety !
I'm here looking for evidence whether a Pedestrian island increases or decreases risk : it encourages people to stand around in the middle of the road with no physical protection !
They seem to be installed as 'traffic calming' to reduce motorists speeding, and there is ample evidence that is effective.
It would a pity if they increased the risk to pedestrians, but that doesn't seem to have been studied much.
For a very general explanation, see Risk compensation ?
-- (talk) 04:01, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm commenting at Talk:Pedestrian_crossing#Safety
-- (talk) 05:44, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Lacking information on Rules/Protocols/Operation for Pedestrian and Drivers[edit]

As someone unfamiliar with a "Zebra Crossing", I found the articles was weak in explaining how a zebra crossing worked. I got the gist that it is a pedestrian crossing involving large bands of black and white stripes, but beyond that, the operation is a mystery; that is, what guidelines/rights/duties does the pedestrian have; and same for the driver? For example, can a pedestrian advance through a zebra crossing with the assumption traffic will stop for them? The "Regional Variations" gives some insight into this, with the sentence involving "New Zealand" being the best at providing the information I want. The "Characteristics" section ends with a couple of sentences that are of interest, but overall more information would be most helpful. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dan Aquinas (talkcontribs) 22:16, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Laws vary with region - best to check your local government websites !
Even here in the UK, I don't think driving at pedestrians is actually legalised yet anywhere on any public roads. Being a pedestrian on motorways can get you into trouble, though !
-- (talk) 03:42, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Zebra from studs?[edit]

This article: "The crossings were originally marked by beacons and parallel rows of studs, and the stripes were added for visibility some 15 years later." Belisha beacon article: "[...] pedestrian crossings, marked by large metal studs in the road surface. These crossings were later painted in black and white stripes, thus are known as zebra crossings."

Now I've seen lots of crossings marked with studs in the UK but comparatively few painted in black and white stripes. So: if there are no stripes, just studs, is it called a "zebra" crossing notwithstanding? And if not, does it have a specific name or do you just say "pedestrian crossing"? Any way, the article should probably mention it. --Thrissel (talk) 18:41, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

In the UK we have a whole menagerie of animal-themed Pedestrian crossings:
-- (talk) 03:35, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Abbey Road crossing[edit]

In the section "Popular Culture", can we use the photo of the album sleeve to demonstrate the Abbey Road crossing as it appeared on the sleeve? Thanks.--Gg53000 (talk) 02:07, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

I'd advise against that - since the album art is used under fair use, we use it as minimally as possible. This basically means that we use it only for identifying the album in its article, and anywhere else where it's necessary for critical commentary. In this case, a popular culture listing wouldn't require a picture of the album. ~SuperHamster Talk Contribs 07:03, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

Ah, I see. Sorry to be bothering you guys. Thank you!--Gg53000 (talk) 02:07, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

There are some claims that the original crossing was moved slightly but has been given historic "building" listed status which should protect it against further change BBC News. But it seems that maybe only a nearby lamppost lighting the crossing was moved Notmoved -- (talk) 09:41, 19 October 2015 (UTC)

"Right of Way" vs "Priority"[edit]

This article seems to use the term "Right of Way" several times when perhaps "Priority" is better used. "Right of Way" simply means access to, through across - whereas "Priority" means privilege is given to one set of road users over another. In the UK, pedestrians have Right of Way on nearly all metalled roads - exceptions are some Clearways, Motorways, &c. - but Zebra Crossings give Priority to pedestrians. Would use of the term "Priority" be more appropriate? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alan.jenney (talkcontribs) 01:05, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

Unfortunately in the US the words "yield the right-of-way" appear in most laws and official guides, and this has resulted in the perception that "right-of-way" means what in the UK would be called "priority." I don't think the term "priority" is widely understood in the US, but I'm not sure. Kendall-K1 (talk) 14:25, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

UK deaths[edit]

This is almost certainly not true: "by 1960, 500 people died on Zebra crossings in six months." Consider that in 2010 five people died. Do we really think there has been a two-hundred-fold reduction? In 1960, 7,000 people total died on UK roads. Is it possible that one out of seven of those were pedestrians at a zebra crossing? Kendall-K1 (talk) 13:55, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

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