Pedestrians and motorists

Walking is a healthy, accessible, sociable and environmentally-friendly method of transport and recreation.

However, pedestrians are extremely vulnerable in crashes involving vehicles. It's therefore crucial that motorists and pedestrians respect the safety and rights of each other.

Pedestrians at risk: key facts

In 2013, 30 pedestrians died, 221 pedestrians were seriously injured and 618 pedestrians suffered minor injuries in crashes on New Zealand roads.

The highest numbers of people killed and injured are aged between 5 and 24.

More than nine in every 10 reported pedestrian casualties occur on urban roads (those with a speed limit of 70km/h or less).

Child pedestrians are more likely to be injured between 2 and 4pm. Adult pedestrians are injured in relatively steady numbers from 8am until 8pm.

The most frequent pedestrian factors associated with fatal crashes are being visibly intoxicated, crossing the road heedless of traffic or wearing dark clothing.

For more information see:

Risks around schools

Many casualties also happen while travelling to and from school. Children often do not have the same level of road awareness as adults.  

Police strictly enforce the speed limit within 250 metres each side of a school's boundaries. For example, this means that motorists who drive past a school at 45 km/h or more in a 40 km/h area can expect to be ticketed.  

It is also important to remember there is also 20km/h speed limit in force when passing a stationary school bus. This 20 km/h limit applies regardless of which direction the motorist is traveling or the regular speed limit of the area.

Pedestrian crossings

It is important that as drivers we take extra care around pedestrian crossings.

When coming up to pedestrian crossings:

  • Slow down and be ready to stop for any pedestrians stepping onto, or on, the crossing – this also includes people obviously waiting to use the crossing
  • If there is no raised traffic island in the middle of the crossing, stop and give way to pedestrians on any part of the crossing
  • If there is a raised traffic island in the middle of the crossing, stop and give way to pedestrians on your half of the road
  • Wait until the pedestrian has crossed in front of you and is clear of your vehicle before you proceed 
  • If you find yourself in a queue of traffic near a pedestrian crossing, don't move onto the crossing if there isn't enough room for your vehicle on the other side of the crossing

AA speaking up for motorists

Mutual courtesy and respect

Motorists and pedestrians need to maintain mutual respect and courtesy towards each other. Motorists must be especially alert for pedestrians in busy areas such as urban streets and outside of schools.

Know the Road Code and keep safe

Pedestrians, like motorists, are road users and need to follow the Road Code. It is important to remember that, if you are within 20 metres of a pedestrian crossing, footbridge, underpass or traffic signals, you must use it to cross the road.

Be aware also that using mobile phones, listening to headphones and being intoxicated reduces our ability to concentrate on what's happening around us and increases our risk of being involved in an accident.

Specific information for pedestrians can be found in the official Road Code.

Pedestrian information and advocacy can also be found at Living Streets Aotearoa.


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