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Give way rules at pedestrian crossings

There are a few different scenarios for pedestrian crossings:

  1. Painted crossings with no central reservation (i.e. the crossing is continuous)
  2. Painted crossings with a central reservation island (i.e. the crossing is continuous, but there’s a small raised traffic island in the middle of the road)
  3. School patrol crossings (can be painted or temporary)
  4. Staggered crossings (i.e. it’s two separate crossings linked by a small protected area in the middle of the road, often with two separate signals)
  5. Pedestrian-controlled lights (i.e. on an otherwise straight section of road, pedestrians can push a button to activate a traffic light which allows them to cross)
  6. Intersections with pedestrian-controlled lights)

Pedestrian crossings with no central reservation

If there is a pedestrian waiting to cross on either side of the road then the driver must stop.

Vehicle must wait for the pedestrians

Once the pedestrian is more than half way across, vehicles can proceed if it’s clear, even if there is no central reservation. You have already given way to them.

Once there are no pedestrians approaching your path, you can drive on. I.e. you don’t need to wait for the pedestrian to finish crossing

However, vehicles approaching from the other direction must still give way while the pedestrian is either walking towards their lane, or in their lane if there is no central reservation.

The green car can now proceed, but the red car must wait

Pedestrian crossings with a raised traffic island

If there’s a raised traffic island you don’t need to give way to pedestrians approaching your lane from the other side of the road until they reach the island. You do have to give way to pedestrians waiting to cross on your side of the road.

Vehicles can proceed until the pedestrian reaches the island

School crossings

If the stop sign is out, vehicles must wait until they are pulled in again.

Staggered crossings

These are treated as two separate crossings.

Staggered pedestrian crossing in Mount Maunganui with a protected central reservation

Pedestrian-controlled lights at intersections and on roads

Vehicles must wait if the lights are red.

When turning, a vehicle might have a green light, but still must give way to pedestrians already on the crossing.

The green car can proceed because the pedestrian has cleared the lane, while both red cars must wait because the pedestrian is still in the lane they are turning into.

Darren is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and the NZ Motoring Writers' Guild

Tagged with: | Posted in Advice, Road Code
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