Ask the Government to give the green light to “implied zebras”
Crossing roads can be a lottery at the best of times, never mind if you have limited vision or mobility. But there’s a simple way to make our neighbourhoods safer for everyone – implied zebra crossings.
That’s why we’ve created this online action: write to Grant Shapps and ask him to urgently give the green light to “implied zebras”.
Unlike standard zebra crossings, “implied zebras” don’t have flashing beacons. That makes them quick and cheap to install – costing as little as £300, compared with £30,000 or more for a standard zebra crossing.
“These crossings enforce a right that everybody has forgotten about. The law is this: that when you put a foot on the carriageway, you have the right of way.
“But people don’t do it, because there is no point being in the right, while at the same time being in hospital after getting run over. I would like to see thousands of zebra crossings in [Greater] Manchester.”Chris Boardman, Cycling and Walking Commissioner for Greater Manchester
Side-road zebras are a really quick and simple way for local councils to demonstrate that people walking have priority and to make crossing roads in our local neighbourhoods safer for everyone – young and old.
So what’s stopping Greater Manchester doing this?
In 2018, Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham sent a report to the government asking for permission to install implied zebras in residential streets across Greater Manchester. The report highlighted that:
“Crossing side road junctions in the UK is stressful. There is an assumption that turning traffic will not give way and will rarely indicate so people must either grit their teeth and accept whatever fate brings them, or move away from their desire line to a distance where they feel they could react quickly enough to avoid an approaching car. This issue is exacerbated for those with disabilities and those with small children.”Citymetric article
Unfortunately, the Department for Transport refused to change the “traffic sign regulations and general directions” to authorise the use of side road zebra crossings without the need for beacons or zigzag lines, supposedly on safety grounds.
Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer!
Not giving up, Greater Manchester invested £250,000 to commission the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) to undertake the rigorous research that will hopefully satisfy the Department for Transport’s safety concerns.
Interim results from the study have shown that the UK-invented zebra crossing is near-universally recognisable to walkers and drivers alike, even without zig-zag markings and Belisha beacons which are currently required. People recognised the non-standard zebra stripes 94% of the time, against the next highest contender, painted footprints, at 66%.
We all need safe space to walk
We need safe walking routes for essential workers walking to work, for people to be able to give physical space when walking past people queuing at shops and for people taking their daily exercise.
“If you’re a key worker and have been cycling or walking for your essential journeys, please continue to do so! It’s a great way of minimising the spread of the virus while offering some daily exercise.” – Stay two metres away from others.Transport for Greater Manchester
On 20th April, the Government informed local councils that barriers to imposing car-free streets were being lifted to enable key workers to walk or cycle more safely – unfortunately this did not include permission to install ‘implied zebra’ crossings.
Give the green light to “implied zebras“
Implied zebras are a really quick and simple way for local councils to give priority to people walking, to help with social distancing as the Covid-19 lockdown is eased, and to make crossing roads in our local neighbourhoods safer for everyone.
Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, has the power to change the regulations to allow Greater Manchester, and other local authorities, to install implied zebras.
If enough of us make a noise, we can persuade Grant Shapps to bring the UK’s regulations into line with other European countries.
We’ve created an easy-to-use email letter on the Action Network.