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It’s of course unclear why a chicken would want to cross a road.  It’s also unclear why anyone would want to cross the road when you consider that in 2019, there were 470 pedestrian fatalities on the roads of Great Britain, which accounted for 27% of all road fatalities, 8 of which were child fatalities.  There were also more than 21,000 pedestrian casualties.  These are staggering statistics given that our roads are supposed to be amongst the safest in the world.  Pedestrians are classified as vulnerable road users (along with pedal cyclists and motorcyclists) and all vulnerable road users have much higher casualty rates per mile travelled in comparison with the other road user groups.

Ideally, all pedestrians would only cross the road at a suitable crossing, all children would be supervised when crossing the road, all motorists would give way to pedestrians on crossings and children wouldn’t run out into the road chasing after a football.  Unfortunately we do not live in an ideal world.

Did you know that there are 7 different types of crossings in the UK, including a new crossing currently being trialled in London, in a bid to make it safer for cyclists.  Can you name them all?  If you can’t, the answers are at the end of the blog.  A recent survey has shown that 81% of people asked didn’t know when drivers are legally required to stop at a zebra crossing (oops there’s one answer already), whilst one in four didn’t know who is permitted to use a toucan crossing (oh dear, and another one).

The lack of any physical protection makes pedestrians the most vulnerable of all road users.  It’s a sad fact that many pedestrians that are involved in an accident with a vehicle suffer traumatic, life-changing injuries.  But if a pedestrian gets hit by a vehicle when crossing the road, whose fault is it?  Generally speaking, motorists owe all vulnerable road users a very high duty of care.  However, pedestrians crossing the road also owe a duty of care to other road users and The Highway Code sets out clear guidance what pedestrians should do when crossing a road.

The starting point is The Green Cross Code. It’s wise to teach Children the Code and ensure they can understand and use it properly.  The Code is simple to understand and has a number of guiding principles.  First find a safe place to cross and if there is a crossing nearby, use it.  Stop just before you get to the kerb.  Look all around for traffic and listen.  If traffic is coming, let it pass.  When it is safe, go straight across the road – do not run.

Unfortunately at this time of year, when the evenings are darker and the weather is worse, the number of pedestrian fatalities and casualties increases.  However there are a number of simple things you can do to minimise the risk:

  • Follow the Green Cross Code
  • Keep hold of young children
  • Wear light or reflective clothing when dark
  • Don’t use headphones or mobile phones when crossing

At Lyons Davidson, we know that there are many varied types of injury that can be caused when pedestrians are hit by a vehicle, ranging from cuts and bruises to broken bones, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries and regrettably in some instances a fatal injury.  We have a dedicated Vulnerable Road Users team who have a wealth of experience of dealing with these types of claims, as well as a specialised team that deal with spinal cord injuries, brain injuries and fatal accidents.  If you would like any further information regarding the services that we offer, please contact:

Nicholas Trevett – Head of the Vulnerable Road Users team 0117 904 7709

Laura Merry – Head of the Spinal Cord injury and brain injury team 0117 904 5718

Rachel Green – Head of the Fatalities team 0117 904 5729

Finally, here are the answers to the 7 types of crossing currently in use in the UK:

  1. Zebra crossing
  2. Pelican crossing
  3. Puffin crossing
  4. Toucan crossing
  5. Pegasus crossing
  6. Pedestrian refuge island
  7. Tiger crossing

Don’t play chicken, cross the road with care.