As a way to get around, walking is an easy, healthy and safe way to travel. There are a number of tips you can follow to keep it that way.
How to stay safe when walking
- Use pedestrian crossings or cross at traffic signals.
- Stop and check at every driveway.
- Walk on the footpath, close to the houses and away from the road.
- Hold hands if walking with a young child near roads or in carparks.
Crossing the road
When there’s no pedestrian crossing
- be patient and cross the road only when it’s safe to do so (it takes time for a vehicle to stop)
- then use the kerb drill:
- Stop one step back from the kerb.
- Look and listen for traffic coming from all directions.
- If there is traffic coming, wait until it has passed and then look and listen for traffic again.
- If there is no traffic coming, walk quickly straight across the road.
- While crossing, look and listen for traffic, wherever it may come from.
When using a pedestrian crossing
- Use official crossings where possible – in fact, if you’re within 20 metres of a pedestrian crossing, the law requires you to use it.
- Check that approaching vehicles have seen you and can stop before you step out.
- Cross as quickly as you are able.
- For crossings with signals, only cross when the green person or message shows.
Watch out for courtesy crossings
A courtesy crossing may be made of other materials like bricks or pavers.
Use these crossings with care because cars don’t have to stop for pedestrians at courtesy crossings.
Crossing at intersections
Choose a place where you can see, and be seen by, traffic from all directions.
Crossing between parked cars
Crossing between parked cars should be your last option. It is safer to walk a little further to get to a clear stretch of road. If you do cross between parked cars:
- stop on the footpath and look carefully for a gap between two parked vehicles which don’t show signs that they might move off (eg they don’t have drivers, exhaust fumes, engine noises, lights)
- if you can’t see inside either vehicle choose another gap
- make sure you have a safe place to go on the other side of the road (eg a place that is not blocked by a driveway or parked vehicles)
- walk to the outside (headlight) corner of the parked vehicle and stop where you can see the traffic, and drivers can see you before you cross.
Walking where there are no footpaths
- Walk facing the oncoming traffic.
- Keep as far off the road as possible.
- Walk in single file – if in a group, the shortest child should be at the front and tallest at the back so everyone can see.
The official New Zealand road code has more tips on how to stay safe.
Using kick scooters, skateboards and skates
If you use scooters, skateboards and inline skates on the footpath, you are still classified as a pedestrian.
Read scooter safety tips (external link)
Useful resources for parents