190202 zebra crossings 2
Pedestrians on a zebra crossing in Abu Dhabi. Motorists face a Dh500 fine and six black points if they don’t give way to pedestrians in designated areas. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Pedestrians in Abu Dhabi say that motorists often don’t give way for them in designated areas such as zebra crossings, with some going as far as to avoid walking across them due to fears of being hit by oncoming traffic.

According to the law, motorists face a Dh500 fine and six black points if they don’t give way to pedestrians in designated areas such as zebra crossings, but despite the traffic rule many drivers often ignore their responsibilities to stop and allow pedestrians to safely cross the road.

Instances of motorists failing to stop at zebra crossings was evident when Gulf News visited one such pedestrian crossing on a busy road in downtown Abu Dhabi. An old woman could be seen waiting for quite some time before she was able to finally pass on the zebra crossing as several vehicles refused to stop and allow her to safely cross the road.

Zuhra N., from Uzbekistan, said she doesn’t use zebra crossings after almost being hit by a car.

“I was almost run over by a car while walking across a zebra crossing,” she said. “One taxi stopped for me to give way and it seems the other oncoming car didn’t see me, The driver had to brake heavily when he saw me; I even had to move back to make sure I wasn’t hit.”

Louby Tubay, a Filipino resident, said she crosses the road only at traffic light crossings or through underpasses. “If I am walking alone, I won’t use a zebra crossing because a lot of times, cars don’t stop for you, they just keep moving and I don’t feel safe. If I’m with a big group of people, I don’t mind walking across zebra crossings because in a big group you’re more noticeable and cars usually stop.”

John Patrick, also from the Philippines, said that the time of the day also matters. “During rush hour it’s more difficult to pass because a lot of motorists are in a hurry and so as a pedestrian you have to be careful during those times,” he added.

Arif Mohammad from India said motorists mostly respect the rights of pedestrians at zebra crossings located on the corner of road intersections. “At corner intersections they usually stop for you, but when it comes to zebra crossings in the middle of the road, that’s not always the case. And so I avoid zebra crossings on the main road and stick to pedestrian underpasses and the crossings on the intersection corners.”

While most pedestrians said that motorists usually don’t stop for them, Ahmad Al Tahawi from Syria, said he hasn’t faced any issues. “Most of the time I have crossed the road from the designated area without any trouble.”

Do’s and don’ts at zebra crossings:

As a motorist:

The yield signs at zebra crossings indicate, that pedestrians have right of way.

Slow down or stop to make sure pedestrians can cross safely

If there is traffic behind you, use your hazard lights for warning

If there are two or more lanes, and another car has already stopped for pedestrians, you must stop, too

If you approach a zebra crossing and you see pedestrians on the street already crossing, you must stop

Be very careful, mindful and polite when you approach zebra crossings

Don’t forget: once you step out of your car, you are also a pedestrian and you also desire that drivers watch out for you

As a pedestrian:

Don’t be distracted when using a zebra crossing (get off your phone!)

Establish eye contact with approaching motorists

Be mindful, that you are the weakest traffic participant

Take no risks and don’t force your way (even if motorists have a yield-sign)

Don’t cross by red light

Source: http://www.roadsafetyuae.com