Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Accident waiting to happen

An elderly woman was killed on a zebra crossing yesterday in Heaton, north Bradford. This unfortunately doesn’t surprise me. I use a zebra crossing every day when going to university, which to most drivers seems invisible. Today, when standing at the kerb waiting to cross, no less than 5 cars went past before one stopped to let me cross – yet from what I gather it is mandatory to stop at a zebra crossing when someone is stood at the kerbside.

That said, it seems that many people in Bradford feel the Highway Code just doesn’t apply to them full stop. If you ever want to see examples of atrociously bad driving, come up here one day and stand by the roadside for a bit.

Shearbridge Road, a nearby street that runs along the western edge of the university campus, has at least three points were people have come off the road and crashed in the past year. Yet the road is fine – it’s how people drive on it.


  1. A friend of mine was knocked down at a Zebra crossing not long ago.
    I agree, the driving in Bradford is extremely dangerous. The road I walk down to university I see both men and women on their mobiles, without seatbelts and their kids jumping around in the back. I think the government and councils should stop wasting money on speed cameras, catching law abiding citizens driving about 43 in a 40 zone in a non built up area, and just put some police of this road and stop this from happening.

  2. My wife and I went to London for our honeymoon. At one point we were standing at what we thought was a crosswalk (one with a light next to it, not a traffic light mind you, just a lamp post kind of light) waiting for traffic to pass so we could cross, when one of the cars stopped. We looked at each other and then at the car again. He must have realized that we were tourists because he waved us on and was very patient with us.
    We have never seen this. In the states, you are pretty much on your own at crosswalks like that. We really didn’t know what we should do. We finally went across, but it just didn’t feel right.

  3. In New Jersey, at least, not yielding at crosswalks is illegal. In my experiences, most cars would not stop, so it was a matter of waiting for that one generous person.
    One of the crosswalks in my hometown connected the library & police station to the post office, so it had a very official-looking sign noting that failure to yield could subject drivers to a $100 fine. Cars almost always stopped for you there.

  4. Bad driving.

    Neil posted about a woman getting knocked down at a zebra crossing in Bradford. Last night in the space of 10 minutes we were almost in 3 accidents in Congleton. The first was coming up a steep hill at about…

  5. I often just walk out in front of cars on zebra crossings. Especially if I don’t think they were planning on stopping. I’m sure I’ve annoyed a few drivers.

  6. Part of the trouble is that the [Highway Code]( is a little ambiguous. Here’s the extract:

    • look out for people waiting to cross and be ready to slow down or stop to let them cross
    • you MUST give way when someone has moved onto a crossing

    They make one a MUST (their caps) implying some lesser compulsion for letting people on the kerb cross. No wonder there is confusion about the rights and wrongs.
    Needless to say, basic driver courtesy and alertness would help. As a pedestrian, I aim for eye contact with any driver near a crossing.
    I get the impression they’re phasing out Zebra crossings except in 20mph zones. I can see why.

  7. It’s not ambiguous – you MUST stop if there’s someone on the crossing.
    If the law was extended to cover peds waiting at the side of the crossing, you would force drivers to consider intent (or mark out a section of the pavement where non-crossers of the road MUST not tread).
    One foot on the crossing is (or should be) all you need to stop traffic.
    (I was going to mention France, where drivers are even less likely to stop if you’re only stood there at the side of the road.)
    Oh, and a new crossing sprang up in my town a coupla weeks ago (in a 30 zone). Of course, the powers that be may be planning to make it a 20.

  8. To my understanding you need to be STOOD on the crossing in order for them to stop. So just put one on the road, and see how many either stop, or try and run you over! 🙂