Sharing the road with pedestrians

On average, 36 pedestrians are killed and 1000 pedestrians are injured on New Zealand roads every year.

Many of these deaths and injuries could be prevented if drivers took more care when using our roads. Please look out for pedestrians whenever you’re riding your motorcycle.

Pedestrian safety for motorcyclists

  • Always be ready to stop near schools, bus stops and pedestrian crossings.
  • Be careful when riding past parked vehicles. Pedestrians may walk out without warning.
  • You must slow down to 20km/h when passing or coming towards a school bus that’s stopped to let children on or off, no matter which side of the road you’re on.
  • Watch out for elderly people or people with disabilities.
  • Take special care near roadside stalls and parked vendors. Pedestrians visiting these may forget to watch for traffic when crossing the road.

Pedestrian crossings

A pedestrian crossing is an area of road that has white stripes marked across it. It’s used by pedestrians and people using mobility devices, such as motorised wheelchairs, as well as skateboards and foot-propelled scooters.

Some crossings have raised islands in the middle where pedestrians can stop. These help pedestrians crossing wide, 2-way roads or multi-laned roads.

As you ride towards a pedestrian crossing, you’ll see pedestrian crossing signs before the crossing and black and white poles at the crossing. The poles have fluorescent orange disks, or round yellow lights that flash at night.

White diamonds are generally painted on the road before the crossing and a white limit line shows you where to stop.

When coming up to pedestrian crossings:

  • slow down and be ready to stop for any pedestrians on or stepping onto the crossing – this also includes people obviously waiting to use the crossing
  • if there’s no raised traffic island in the middle of the crossing, stop and give way to pedestrians on any part of the crossing
  • wait until the pedestrian has crossed in front of you and is clear of your vehicle before you proceed.
A blue motorcycle is stopped behind a white line in front of a pedestrian crossing. A pedestrian is crossing the road.

Pedestrian crossing

A blue motorcycle is driving northbound in the left lane while a pedestrian crosses at the pedestrian crossing in the right lane. There is a raised island in the middle of the pedestrian crossing.

Pedestrian crossing with a raised island

If you’re 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.

If there’s a raised traffic island in the middle of the crossing, stop and give way to pedestrians on your half of the road.


Never overtake a vehicle that’s slowing down for a pedestrian crossing or has stopped to let someone cross.

Courtesy crossings

Courtesy crossings are usually made of bricks or paving and are often raised above the level of the road.

Although not official pedestrian crossings, they provide a safe place for pedestrians to cross. You should be courteous to people using a courtesy crossing.

A brown strip crosses the road horizontally, marking where to cross the road. Two pedestrians are crossing here while a blue and white car wait on either side.

Courtesy pedestrian crossing 

Shared zone

This is a road that’s been designed to slow traffic and give priority to pedestrians. Drivers and riders give way to pedestrians who, in turn, should not hold up traffic.

School crossing

School crossings, also known as kea crossings, provide a safe place for children to cross the road. They generally only operate before and after school.

When school crossings are operating, a fluorescent orange Children sign will be displayed, along with a school patrol stop sign, which swings out into the road.

When the school patrol stop sign is out, vehicles coming from both directions must stop until all signs have been pulled in.

School patrol stop sign

Things to know about children

  • Children aren’t little adults, so don’t expect them to act as adults do.
  • Children, especially those under the age of 9, may not have the skills and abilities needed to be safe in traffic. Be very careful when riding near them.
  • Young children have narrow vision and may not see vehicles as easily as adults do.
  • Children have trouble judging the speed of moving vehicles. They may let a slow vehicle pass and try to cross in front of a fast one. 
  • Children often don’t understand that it takes time for a vehicle to stop. 
  • Children may have difficulty working out where sounds are coming from.
  • Because children are small, they often can’t see over bushes and parked vehicles. This also means they can’t be seen easily by you.
  • Children may have trouble stopping at a kerb and could dart out into traffic.
  • Children can freeze when they find themselves in danger, instead of taking quick action as an adult might.

Keep a lookout for children at all times. Take special care when riding during 8–9am and 3–4pm, when children are travelling to and from school.

Blind and vision-impaired pedestrians

People who are blind or vision-impaired often use aids such as a white cane or a guide dog. When you see people with these aids trying to cross the road, you should take extra care and let them cross in their own time.

When leaving and entering driveways

When you’re entering or leaving a driveway that crosses a footpath, you must give way to people using the footpath.

When leaving a driveway, you must give way to vehicles using the road.