Clarity added that drivers must yield to people waiting at zebra crossings

— Rule applies to zebra crossings with and without orange Belisha beacons.
— Zerba crossings across cycle paths also given legal backing.

Clarity has been added to legislation outlining how drivers must yield the right of way to pedestrians waiting to cross at zebra crossings, not just those who have started to cross.'s reader-funded journalism won't survive without your help. With over 762,000 views so-far this year, it's not just "avid cyclists" who read this website, but, if you want it to keep going, more support is needed from readers like you. Now, back to the article...

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan made the change to the Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations, which are secondary legislation that forms part of the road traffic law.

The written legal changes outline how a driver of a vehicle “shall yield the right of way to any pedestrian who is waiting to cross or has commenced crossing the road at the crossing”.

In legal terms, ‘shall’ means ‘must’ and where the Road Traffic Acts and related secondary legislation mention ‘drivers’, the phrase generally includes people in control of bicycles, e-scooters, motorcycles, or any motor vehicle. 

Previously, the law outlined that drivers must “yield the right of way to any pedestrian who has commenced crossing the road at the crossing.” It is understood that both Courts and insurance companies viewed this as including people who showed an intention of crossing, but such cases rarely go above the District Court or Circuit Court level, where there are rarely written judgments. The new situation gives clarity in written legislation, which can be read by anybody online.

The new regulations also allow for zebra crossings across cycle tracks.

The firming up of legislation follows the recent changes which allows councils around Ireland to roll out zebra crossings without expensive Belisha beacons. As reported in March, the move followed a trial which found different options to be safe and effective.

The Belisha beacons are still be an option depending on the situation, but now so too will continental-style zebra crossing signs with the addition of a fluorescent high-vis border, and, for low-speed environments, the option of raised zebra crossings with  painted markings without any sign or beacons.

IMAGE: Example image from Traffic Signs Manual advice note of a zebra crossing with just signs.


  1. Please more zebra crossings in Ireland. They are such a better solution on many instances for pedestrians and for drivers.

  2. Ah the days of relentless terror as motorists refused to give way to the Dublin Rd zebra crossing off Midleton Main St. So many times nearly mowed down.

    • Slap their bodywork as they go by, its what people do in other countries. Course that depends on speed – if it’s 60 I wouldn’t!

    • There is some really bad advice in this article, you should always wait for traffic to stop..a collision is not going to hurt the car or lorry much.The law won’t save you.

      • Hi Paul, just to be clear, the article does not offer advice of any type, not to zebra crossing users or motorists.

        The article reports on how the legal situation has been clarified in written legislation. The new clarity reflects how the courts and insurance companies treated the issue of priority already.

        Of course, everybody still has to abide by the law more generally, and that includes not jumping in front of cars and cyclists, and that motorists and cyclists must not just be ready to yield when they see somebody at a crossing but also use bit of sense they should also slow when anybody is near a crossing especially a child.

        Re “a collision is not going to hurt the car or lorry much” — no, but we don’t yet have driverless cars so a collision could mean higher insurance, a fine, imprisonment or, in more serious cases, could have life-changing consequences for the motorist, including life-long guilt, loss of work directly related to their actions and an inability to drive to or for work, or related to living with killing somebody.

  3. In Poland recently, and a friend noted that there had been a huge improvement in compliance with the vast network of zebras there. Why? A combo of law change in 2021 similar to what just noted, and an increase in the fine in 2022 to … wait for it… PLN1500 – roughly €350 in a country where its average wage is a third of that in Ireland. My friend said that drivers proceed very cautiously at a zebra if they see anyone walking within a metre or two of the crossing, and often stop just-in-case.

    When I was there, I also noticed that many of the zebras were freshly painted on urban, suburban and rural roads. And I would be pretty sure they do not waste everyone’s time in endless rounds of public consultation on their installation.
    Just get the Irish councils out with a white paint installer and put them on every side road junction, on every 50kmh road and blitz-fine motorists to put some actual fear of non-compliance in them.


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