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A national first: LED zebra crossing lights up the street to improve road safety

By Ruth Johnson, a serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell

I was interested to read about Portsmouth, where I live, having the first light up zebra crossing installed with the aim of improving road safety.

The new zebra crossing is on the junction of Clarendon Road and Palmerston Road in Southsea.  It has LED panels installed in the road surface to make it more visible to drivers and to encourage more pedestrians to use it at night.

The panels light up as pedestrians approach the crossing itself.  A video showing it in action is available to view

The press release from Portsmouth Council relating to its installation says: β€œThe council and its roads contractor Colas is working with the Department for Transport to ensure the new lighting system can be used in this country for the first time. Now it is in place, use of the crossing will be monitored and, if it makes a positive difference, lights could be added to more crossings in the city."

Highway Code changes

New changes to the Highway Code are due to come into force later this month. One of the areas of reform is the changes to the hierarchy of road users. This is designed to protect the most vulnerable people on the road including pedestrians and cyclists .

The idea behind this reform is to see road users who can do the greatest harm being given the greatest responsibility in an attempt to reduce danger that they may post to others. 

One of the reforms includes giving pedestrians priority when waiting to cross at a crossing or junction as opposed to only when they have already started to cross ( The H2 Rule). This would give priority to pedestrians at zebra crossings and junctions whilst raising the awareness of speeding.

We often see people who have been injured when using a crossing but cars fail to stop. Having a crossing that visually alerts drivers to pedestrians approaching as well as the changes to the Highway Code can only be seen as a good thing. 

The latter will, however, very much depend on public education of the changes. I will be watching with interest to see whether the outcome of the trial, which will need to be viewed alongside the changes to the Highway Code, is found to make any positive difference to road safety.

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in helping people following road accidents at our dedicated serious injury section.