Pedestrians Policy Statements - February 2001
The Highway Code
All road users are travellers on foot some of the time, so they should read, and follow the rules in the "Pedestrians" section of the Highway Code.
The Most Vulnerable Pedestrians
Drivers, motorcyclists and pedal cyclists should recognise that not all pedestrians are able to behave predictably, or in accordance with the rules of the Highway Code. Children, for example, do not have the road user experience or self-control of adults. Older people and those with disabilities may have difficulties in seeing or hearing approaching traffic, accurately judging speed and distance and may not move as quickly as some drivers would expect. Other road users, therefore, should exercise greater care when pedestrians are nearby, and be prepared for unexpected actions by the pedestrian.
Where there is a pedestrian crossing, it should be used by pedestrians to cross the road in the manner recommended in the Highway Code.
Pedestrian crossings need to be installed in carefully chosen locations and properly maintained so that they can be used conveniently and safely. Attention should be directed towards known or expected 'desire lines' (or paths). Light controlled crossings should allow pedestrians, particularly older and disabled people, sufficient time to safely cross the road. Particular attention should be given to reducing the 'waiting' time delay to pedestrians to encourage a modal shift to walking and cycling.
RoSPA supports the use of the new PUFFIN crossings in this respect, however, RoSPA has concerns with the use of PUFFINS on dual carriageways with a central reserve where there is not a significant stagger primarily because of the lack of a signal head visible to the pedestrian on the second 'leg' of the crossing. In addition to this, where a 'low down' pedestrian signal aspect is likely to be obscured by large numbers of pedestrians a second should be installed at a raised mounting height.
All new installations should be subject to both user and road safety audits in accordance with appropriate guidelines.
Pedestrians are recommended to wear something that will make them conspicuous, particularly in conditions of poor visibility. Fluorescent materials are most effective during the day, and reflective materials at night.
Pedestrians and Alcohol
Pedestrians under the influence of alcohol are more likely to make errors of judgement and to behave in a manner that leads them to become involved in, or to cause, a road traffic accident. Existing laws relating to drunkenness can be used to restrain a pedestrian under the influence of alcohol if necessary. New legislation to address this problem is not required.
The issue of the drinking pedestrian should be publicised in order to raise awareness about it. Further endeavours may be needed to help educate people. Care should be taken, however, that such publicity does not inadvertently encourage people who have drunk too much to drive rather than to walk.
Jay-walking is a dangerous practice that all pedestrians should avoid. Education and publicity are likely to be more effective counter-measures to this problem than legislation, which would be difficult to enforce.
Pedestrians should exercise special care when crossing one-way streets, and should check for traffic in both directions. Traffic is often travelling faster than on two-way streets, some streets may have contra-flow bus lanes and some vehicles may travel unlawfully in the opposite direction to the one-way traffic.
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