There are several types of crossings in use around Nelson to try and make it safer and easier for pedestrians to get across the road. However, there is some level of risk associated with all of them. If we all understand our responsibilities when we use them, it will help to keep everyone safe.

Here’s what you need to know.  

Types of crossings

Zebra Crossing 

Legally, you must use a pedestrian crossing if you are within 20 metres of one.IMG 0978 copy


Pedestrians, stop, look and listen. It's not your right to step straight out onto a pedestrian crossing and expect a vehicle to stop. Never assume that drivers have seen you at the crossing. Make eye contact with a driver (if possible) before crossing; and when they do stop, give them a smile.


The law requires drivers to give way to pedestrians on both sides of all pedestrian crossings unless the pedestrian crossing is divided by a traffic island. Look for pedestrians. Slow down and be prepared to stop.

Pedestrian Refuge islands

IMG 0579Pedestrians

Pedestrian refuge islands are designed to give you a chance to cross a street in two stages. The refuge gives you a safer place to wait before making the second stage of the crossing. So think before you step: these refuges are not zebra crossings. It is your responsibility to cross only when there is a break in the traffic.


At pedestrian refuges, drivers do not have to stop for pedestrians but must be able to stop if you have to. Stopping for pedestrians using refuges islands creates a hazard for following vehicles.

Courtesy crossings

Courtesy crossings or raised platforms are not official pedestrian crossings. The changed surface alerts drivers to reduce their speed and to be aware of pedestrians.

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Don't just step out onto the crossing. Have a look first, make eye contact with drivers and smile. It's about courtesy, let cars cross if they've been waiting awhile.


Go slow, smile and remember that pedestrians are fragile. It's about courtesy, let pedestrians cross if they've been waiting awhile.

Kea Crossing

DSCF0011Pedestrian crossings are well understood by walkers and drivers alike, but the 'kea' crossings used near schools aren't so well understood.

Unlike normal pedestrian crossings, kea crossings do not have 'zebra' stripes on the road and are only operational at the start and end of the school day, and sometimes during the lunch hour. When a kea crossing is operational, it acts as a pedestrian crossing.