Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Zebra to Lose Its Stripes; Zebra Crossings, Introduced in the Fifties, Are Not Doing Enough to Improve Britain's Appalling Record on Child Pedestrian Deaths, So They Are to Be Phased out, Says Tim Hitchcock

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Zebra to Lose Its Stripes; Zebra Crossings, Introduced in the Fifties, Are Not Doing Enough to Improve Britain's Appalling Record on Child Pedestrian Deaths, So They Are to Be Phased out, Says Tim Hitchcock

Article excerpt

Byline: TIM HITCHCOCK

IT looks like the zebra - that is, the zebra crossing - is heading for extinction. Fifty years after the first black-and-white striped crossing opened for use in Slough, the crossings are being replaced on all but the quietest streets.

Where traffic is light and slow, the zebras are still deemed to be safe.

But London has 700 per cent more vehicles on the move than in 1951, and zebra crossings are not doing enough to improve Britain's terrible record on child pedestrian deaths. In the EU, only Ireland has a worse record.

According to Transport for London, between 1994 and 1998 an average of 934 children a year were killed or seriously injured on the capital 's roads.

Zebra crossings, introduced in the Fifties, are not doing enough to improve Britain's appalling record on child pedestrian deaths, so they are to be phased out, says Tim Hitchcock The zebra to lose its stripes TfL aims to reduce that by 50 per cent by 2010 and upgrading crossings is part of its strategy.

"The way forward is the puffin crossing," said a spokesman for the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. "The puffin is the latest computerised crossing, which uses sensors to detect pedestrians and increases the frequency with which they may cross when numbers build up. It is buttonoperated, has a green man and signal to indicate when it is safe but, unlike the pelican, there is no set phase of changes that can make children impatient."

Andrew Howard, head of road safety at the AA, said: "I don 't think the zebra crossing is going to be missed terribly.

Residents' groups have campaigned to have them replaced. It saves having to teach children how to use two different types of crossing if an area has one zebra and, say, six button-operated ones.

Light-controlled crossings give everyone a reasonable bite of the cherry. …

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