Tag Archives: Pedestrian safety

Who should give way at Pedestrian crossing?

Who should give way at the Pedestrian crossing? The driver or the pedestrian?
I’m not joking, this is a genuine question.

20 years ago when I first came to Singapore, it was very clear-cut. At zebra crossing the pedestrian is king. Motorists would slow down and give way to people who is crossing or prepare to cross. However, over the years, the protection offered by the pedestrian crossing seems deteriorated.  You are now STRONGLY ADVISED to STOP and check, to make sure the cars have stopped before crossing.

On the other hand, some drivers are showing little respect to pedestrian crossing. e.g.

  • It is common to see cars encroach and block the zebra crossing.
  • At traffic intersection, impatient drivers cut in between crossing pedestrians to make a right turn.

Some drivers drive through as people waiting at zebra crossing.    video credit: Boonchun

Such disrespect to the pedestrian crossing may have been “legitimised” by a recent communication from LTA.

Stop before crossing zebra

Given the deteriorated driving culture, the first part of the message is not wrong. Couple with the graphical images it almost sound like a death threat.

Taking simple precautions while riding your devices in public can help save lives. Riders, stay safe on the road by sparing a few seconds to stop and check that it is safe before crossing.

However, the second part of the message is worrying:

Motorist can also play a part in exercising patience, slowing down and looking out for pedestrians, cyclists and PMD riders at crossings before driving.

This make it sounds as if the driver’s part is optional. Is this a reflection of the reality, or does LTA really believe the driver should not play the dominant role in road safety?

Famous local blogger Mr. Brown posted in FaceBook yesterday:

This is why drivers often almost kill pedestrians at zebra crossings. The Land Transport Authority tells pedestrians to “Stop. Look. Cross.” while telling drivers they can just “Slow. Check. Drive.”

When in reality, the onus should be on drivers to “Slow the Heck Down. Stop. Look. Look Again. Then Drive.”


Of course we are responsible for our personal safety, and we must teach our kids things like don’t look at their phones while crossing roads, and so on. But the law must always protect the weaker users first. The hammer must always come down harder on the person wielding the vehicle that can kill.


Van almost hit student at zebra crossing.

The recent episodes remind me of a controversial case in 2015.

Pedestrians with right of way ‘must still share responsibility’

Is crossing at green man really safe? Or jaywalk safer?

Even if the lights are in their favour, pedestrians still have to check for oncoming traffic.

This was held in a rare 2-1 Court of Appeal decision in which the Chief Justice dissented.

Judge of Appeal Chao Hick Tin and Justice Quentin Loh, who were in the majority, explained their reasoning by highlighting a Highway Code rule that requires pedestrians to be on the alert.

“Pedestrians should take charge of their own safety,” the court said in judgment grounds issued on Thursday, and decided the injured victim in the case before it was 15 per cent to blame despite having the right of way.

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, who wrote a separate view explaining his objections, said the ruling means

“that pedestrians will no longer be able to take comfort in the fact that they are crossing at a point controlled by a police officer or by traffic lights”.

“They will have to safeguard themselves in precisely the same manner in such circumstances as if they were jaywalking.”

Indeed, if the rule of law is so powerless, what’s the meaning of traffic rules and priority?

I’m not expert in law, but since young, my mother told me “must follow the law” because only bad guy breaks the law. As a layman, I understand the law is a clear reference to judge what is right or wrong. You can use McLeod Brock to face any kind of legal fight for your cause since they are the professionals in this field.

One of the recent Active Mobility Advisory Panel recommendation is to introduce mandatory stop for cyclists and PMD users before they cross a pedestrian crossing, while drivers were only strongly encouraged to slow down and check.

I have difficulty to understand, why this new law stress that people who need to cross the road MUST STOP and check in order to protect themselves, while the driver, who can get others hurt, were only encouraged to SLOW down, check and drive? 

What if there is no car in sight and I just run/cycle/scoot across the zebra without stopping, will I break the law?

What if a driver “SLOW” down from 50kph to 49kph and dash across the zebra while people waiting to cross, is that OK?

Such statement in law send a conflicting and dangerous message to the average driver and which may legitimise an aggressive driving culture.

Reflection on the 2018 AMAP recommendation

The Active Mobility Advisory Panel (AMAP) played a pivotal role in promoting cycling and Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) as viable modes of transportation for the public. An example of their impact is evident in permitting bicycles on walkways, a measure that provides a safer alternative for cautious and unhurried cyclists, made possible through AMAP’s initial recommendation in 2016. I express my sincere gratitude and take pride in being part of this positive transformation.

However, amidst the push for Active Mobility, we may unintentionally overlooked the stress and risks imposed on pedestrians navigating walkways.

This oversight has resulted in a notable surge in reported accidents involving PMDs and bicycles on public paths. The numbers escalated from 19 accidents in 2015 to a staggering 250 in 2018, with several incidents causing severe injuries. – REVIEW OF ACTIVE MOBILITY REGULATIONS FOR SAFER PATH SHARING (2018-08-24)

Adapted from Chew On it The Stupidest Proposal. Ever. 2016-03″

To ensure the safety of pedestrians, the Code of Conduct (COC) emphasizes that cyclists and Personal Mobility Device (PMD) riders must reduce their speed when approaching pedestrians. Unfortunately, some riders disregard the COC, considering it as merely advisory or optional. Instead, their primary focus tends to be on the mandatory law, limiting speed to 15 km/h, and regulations governing weight (20kg), speed (25 km/h), and width (700mm).

Certain riders perceive it as their privileged “right” to travel at the “legal speed limit” and insist that pedestrians yield as they ring their bells. In the event of an accident, these riders often attribute the blame to pedestrians for unforeseen movements, claiming they had “no time to react.” However, they rarely acknowledge that the risk was instigated by their failure to reduce speed when approaching pedestrians.

Ensuring Pedestrian Safety Through Legal Protection

Ensuring pedestrian safety through legislation is imperative. Upon reflection, permitting a group of fast device riders on footpaths without enforcing their responsibility to maintain a safe distance from the public seems illogical.

My disappointment stems from the recent recommendations by AMAP for walkways. While proposing a reduction in the speed limit, the opportunity to address the legal requirement for responsible riding on walkways was missed.

Nevertheless, it’s essential to acknowledge that AMAP’s initiatives are pioneering and groundbreaking. To my knowledge, no other developed country has legalized adult riding on walkways. Most device riders view this as a special privilege and prioritize the more vulnerable pedestrians. The challenge arises from a small percentage of less considerate riders who are unaware of the threat they pose to pedestrians. While education alone may not reach all these riders, the law can be viewed as a component of public education efforts.

It is understandable that implementing such a radical measure, unprecedented in other developed nations, may require time to refine and perfect.

More thoughts on 2018 AMAP recommendations:

  1. Lower the speed limit on the pavement from 15km/h to 10km/h
  2. Where are the laws to protect pedestrians of footpaths?

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