The different zebra crossings in Spain

MANY people get confused by the different colours of road markings, which appear to be for pedestrian use, as crossings. There are, basically, three colours: the normal black and white, known, almost internationally, as zebra crossings, as well as red and white, and blue and white.

What do they actually mean?

There are two ways that this can be explained; the legal one and the simple one! Crossings are created by painting road markings on the wide area of a road, from one side to the other, forming a “crossing area”. This area is where drivers of vehicles, and animals, too, must permit pedestrians to cross safely.

However, the other coloured “crossings”, ie red and blue, quite clearly state that you must not use these as zebra crossings, unless a sign clearly states they are for crossing on, although many people do, and many drivers do stop to allow pedestrians to cross at these coloured markings.

Please note that the law quite clearly states that pedestrians are permitted to cross, which does not mean cyclists. So the only legal pedestrian crossings are those which are black and white.

So what do the other coloured markings, which appear to be crossings, act as, in legal terms? Various studies have been carried out, in order to assist those making the traffic laws, and the slowing down of traffic. From these studies, what are known as traffic-calming measures have been put into place, which has become more apparent, in recent years, by large road humps being placed in strategic places, and painted in either red or blue, leading people to think these are crossings.

These are traffic-calming measures to slow down drivers in built-up areas, or dangerous parts of various roads that were often bad accident spots. Some work and some don’t, as we all know. Also, unfortunately, some of the road humps do not comply with the law, and have had to be removed. Part of the reason for this is that it is the local authority ie ayuntamiento that is responsible for the positioning of these humps, and not the Guardia Civil ie traffic police, or those making the laws.

A lot of attention is given to traffic-calming measures and/or zebra crossings, in areas near schools and children’s playgrounds. It is highly possible that a child could run out from between parked cars without looking or thinking, directly into the path of an oncoming car, which may have little or no possibility of not hitting the pedestrian.

Quite often, pedestrians cause an accident, and harm not only the person, but also the car, and, in some cases, its driver and passengers.

To sum up, you should only use the black-and-white marked areas to safely cross the roads, and should always look before crossing. Drivers have multiple things to consider when driving, and pedestrians can potentially be a hazard to them, through no fault of the drivers.

From a driver’s point of view, you must be aware of all potential hazards;  not only other cars, bikes and cyclists, but also pedestrians, especially children who are often still learning, or do not have, at that time, road sense and safety in their mind. They are only thinking about their ball which has just rolled into the road, which they want back!

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Posted by on Oct 26 2018. Filed under Motoring. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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