How do you feel about zebra crossings?

The IrishCycle.com zebra crossing mapping project is coming to an end, so, I want to ask readers: How do you feel about zebra crossing?

If commenting please make sure to say what kind of zebra crossing is your experience based on — is the crossing raised up from the roadway or not and what kind of road is it on?

...I'm sorry to disrupt you while you're reading this article, but without messages like this, IrishCycle.com's reader-funded journalism won't survive. With 676k views so-far this year, it's not just "avid cyclists" that this website reaches. But the number of subscribers is around 0.6% of readers. This large gap between readers/subscribers is standard for non-paywall reader-supported journalism, but IrishCycle's journalism needs more support. Don't delay, support monthly or yearly today. Now, back to the article...

Thanks to IrishCycle.com readers, there are now 1,000 zebra crossings in Ireland mapped, including:

  • 854 zebras with beacons
  • 172 zebras without beacons (mainly not in car parks, but includes 3rd level/medical campuses)
  • 4 TII trial zebras without signs or beacons
  • 8 NTA zebras trial with signs

When this was started, there were some people claiming zebras were not common — if anything the mapping project proves this claim wrong. The reality is there are zebras across the country in most towns and many villages, on local roads and on non-bypassed national roads.

It also seems to bring into question why the NTA and TII need to trial zebras without beacons when there are quite a few of them in place, and we already know many other countries use them.

The number of zebras was unexpected even to me. A twist on the old saying: If I knew I was going to get here, I wouldn’t have started it. The mapping project is nearly at an end now and I am writing more solid conclusions, that’s why I’m asking people what they think of zebras.

11 comments

  1. Love them, very few where I walk in Dublin 9 but loads of opportunities for them – also would be nice at traffic lights like in continental Europe to really visually hammer home that people cross at lights

    Reply
  2. Mostly interact with them on college campuses (UCD). Make a ton of sense to me. Saves what has to be thousands for lights and to be honest I’ve been surprised by how many cars actually stop and let you cross. Maybe that’s just because of the location though.

    Reply
  3. I generally like the idea of them, however I prefer the style of signalled crossing which prioritises pedestrians in a similar style to some Dutch crossings. Where once the button is pushed the light immediately changes to an amber that lasts long enough to alert oncoming traffic, then switches to red.
    So similar to a Zebra in that you’re crossing is almost immediate, but also helps to prevent cases where drivers refuse to stop at zebras as they either did not see the pedestrian about to cross or chose to ignore them (I would hope this would go hand in hand with red-light cameras).

    In terms of junction crossings, I’m a big fan of continuous footpaths that have default priority for pedestrians/cyclists. I sent an email to my local Green TD about this recently (who responded with a lot of enthusiasm for them) and I’m glad to see raised sections at all minor junctions in a new Busconnects plan for my area.
    This does require legislation for rules of the road to be updated to prioritise pedestrians/cyclists/motor in that order, but I hope that’s coming in time. This removes the need for Zebras/Signalled crossings at junctions as it would mean motor vehicles must wait when taking the turn for a free space in pedestrian traffic before completing the turn.

    Reply
  4. I love them. Most are zebras with beacons dropping to the road level (in Blanchardstown Centre) or raised (Carpenterstown and Beechpark Avenue, Dublin 15). Many pedestrian lights are slow to change. Pedestrians should have priority and zebra crossings give it to them.

    Reply
  5. I like in Wexford Town, where there are loads of raised zebras with beacons, and raised zebras without beacons.

    Along the quay, beside the railway, the raised zebras with beacons do a good job of slowing the traffic down and removing the need for beg buttons for pedestrians to access the pedestrianised area. Nine times out of ten, cars will stop, rather than trying to speed through ahead of you.

    Where I live in the town, we have raised zebras without beacons. They still slow cars down, because they are essentially a ramp, but drivers often seem confused about who has right of way.

    “You do not have right-of-way over traffic until you step onto a crossing (or to put it another way, a pedestrian has right of way once they stop onto a pedestrian crossing). Drivers should stop to let you cross by slowing down as they approach the crossing, and then stop behind the stop line if there is one.”

    Rather than a 90% compliance rate, it’s more like a 50% compliance rate. Also, people parking on the raised curb is more common when there is no light pole to prevent them from doing so.

    So the lights are definitely more effective.

    A campaign to remind drivers of their responsibilities at zebra crossings might be useful.

    Reply
  6. A kid in the 70s, I grew up with beaconised zebra crossings being much more ubiquitous than they are today. Generally they weren’t raised. I was super safe using them, walking alone as a kid. Drivers always obeyed them. I loved them, and still do.
    I recently experienced zebras in Copenhagen. Those that weren’t signalised meant pedestrians had priority to cross carriageways and cyclepaths and in those instances motorists & cyclists had to stop. They did, always. A couple of drivers, slowing down already, even gestured to me to step onto the road while I hovered anxiously on the footpath. Imagine that here!! It made walking extremely pleasant. The Danes also have signalised zebras (very wide) across very busy junctions. I don’t know how quickly they respond to pressing, but I certainly never had to wait long at lights. The lights seemed to cycle across equal (or certainly fair) timings between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
    I agree with Cathal’s comment that the visual impact of a zebra (even at a traffic lights crossing) emphasises the fact that this is a space used by many different people.
    Very few zebras around me in Inchicore/Kilmainham and we could do with them. I understand zebras with beacons may initially be clearer but they are more environmentally damaging and I do trust motorists will get the hang of them.
    I cross two raised zebras in Vincents Hospital which I cycle through regularly. I can’t remember if they have beacons. Generally motorists – and cyclists – get that they have to stop to let pedestrians cross.
    I echo previous comments. Roll them out everywhere in cities where pedestrians walk. Have them Dutch-style, responding to signals, at busy junctions. And please get rid of those stupid cattle grids that funnel pedestrians into impossible queues.

    Reply
  7. There are too many pedestrian crossings at road junctions when all the traffic is stopped for pedestrians. These need to be replaced with zebra crossings. They allow everybody to move more freely and are less costly to install than traffic lights. Without beacons, they would be even cheaper.

    Reply
  8. The lack of pedestrian priority crossings is one of the worst things about walking in Dublin, every 50 metres you’re stuck standing at yet another signalised crossing. At most crossings it seems like the button does nothing as you’re still often waiting for several minutes then get 5 seconds to cross the before cars are priority for another 5 minutes. The end result of this is that everyone just chances their arm and often dangerously run across the road at the first break in traffic.

    There’s no reason all streets couldn’t be repurposed with zebra crossings (or even just continuous footpaths) instead, do similar to what the Dutch do and divide everything into classifications of roads vs streets, anything that’s a street gets pedestrian priority, anything that’s a road gets car property with pedestrian lights

    Reply
  9. My opinion on zebras is similar to bike lanes. Paint isn’t protection. Without any additional traffic calming like road narrowing and raised crossings, they might as well not be there. Drivers will regularly blaze through them.

    Reply
  10. I love them, wish there were more, sick of waiting for unresponsive signal crossings or worse, gaps in traffic (in Cork).

    Reply

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.