Happy 60th Zebra Crossings

The United Kingdom’s zebra crossings are 60 years old but, like many animals itself, they are under severe danger of extinction.

The earliest appeared in Slough, in the county of Berkshire, in the early 1950’s. However, around 1,000 have been taken out over the last 5 years.

Many have been replaced by more cutting-edge alternatives with flashing signs and lights.

The amount of deaths on zebra crossings has increased by 100% since 2007, partially because of growing disinclination of motorists to stop at crossings.

‘Zebras are regarded as second-rate to other pedestrian crossings because there is no red light telling cars when to stop,’ said a spokesperson of road safety at the AA. ‘In some UK villages, there’s pressure from individuals for local authorities to fit pelican crossings because they believe that they are less dangerous, so zebras are increasingly being replaced.’

Authorities introduced the crossings for the reason that the number of accidents on our streets was increasing.

Local authorities updated crossings marked with shiny metal studs on the tarmac that proved hard for motorists to see.

A wide variety of diverse colours were considered, including blue and yellow and even red and white stripes.

Finally black and white was eventually found to achieve the best visual effect. Jim Callaghan MP, who later became prime minister, was the first to notice the similarity to the zebra, and the first pedestrian crossing was invented.

However, the amount of deaths was still high and the “panda crossing”, was introduced.

A zebra crossing costs about £10,000, while pelican and puffin versions, that can be operated by pedestrians, are in the region of £35,000. Five pedestrians died on zebra crossings in 2010 and 144 were injured, compared with three deaths in 2006. One cause is that often fines for road users neglecting to stop at zebras are lower in Britain than in other countries in Europe. In Britain motorists can expect a £60 penalty and three points, whereas the highest fine in Belgium could very well be £2,000.

One of the most celebrated zebra crossings is at Abbey Road in London – which was used on the 1969 Beatles album called “Abbey Road”.

So if you’re looking for driving schools in Wokingham then look no further.


3 Responses to “Happy 60th Birthday Zebra Crossings”

  1. Iris Walters on December 18th, 2011 3:04 pm

    I remember when they first came out. I saw my first one in 1951 and thought it was amazing. I hope they don’t get rid of them.

  2. Matthew Utting on December 21st, 2011 7:59 am

    I think that they are outdated in this very fast and busy world that we live in today. There are so many things to see on the roads nowadays that some drivers don’t even notice a red light let alone a zebra crossing.

  3. Angry Motorist on December 27th, 2011 6:06 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I always thought that you should never overtake on a crossing? It annoys me that you may have a queue of cars over a crossing with someone trying to cross and a cyclist will show such little regard for safety and weave through the cars to overtake, putting pedestrians lives in danger.

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