27 Sep 2012

Crash witness calls for change to courtesy crossings

8:21 am on 27 September 2012

A man who helped lift a car off a boy at a courtesy crossing in Nelson says the crossings are hazardous and confusing and need to be changed.

Courtesy crossings, which are usually raised above the level of the road, are not official pedestrian crossings and do not offer right of way to those on foot.

The 10-year-old received minor injuries when he was hit by a car in Richmond and dragged underneath it for several metres on Tuesday.

Patrick McDougall, who helped the boy, says the incident has highlighted the fact that the crossings can be a hazard and people need to be better educated about them.

"If they made less of them and made them actual pedestrian crossings, then it would be a bit safer I guess.

"I've been in them myself. People who walk out onto one of those courtesy crossings don't actually look, they just expect the cars to stop. But you've only got a split second to realise what's going on."

But Steve Spence, a spokesperson for the Local Authority Traffic Institute, says a well-designed courtesy crossing should allow for confused pedestrians by slowing traffic down to a relatively safe speed.

"There's very many well-designed schemes that work perfectly well. If you achieve this and you put them in a slow speed environment, then if there are situations where there's conflict, then you're not likely to see any level of significant accidents."

Mr Spence says any problems should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.