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Kiambu County Government on Saturday started re-painting zebra crossings at the busy Kenyatta Highway to make them more visible to pedestrians, drivers and cyclists alike.

Thika Township Ward Administrator, Madam Jessica Mukundi confirmed that they had done since the stripes had all faded and were now posing a great danger to pedestrians using the major roads within the C.B.D.

Thika District Business Association (TDBA) had called on the authorities to consider repainting these zebra crossing lines to avoid road accidents. According to the association’s secretary Mr. Alfred Wanyoike, most of the roads were recently getting very risky to cross for the pedestrians especially the old and those new in town, a situation that was inconveniencing both pedestrians and motorists alike.

He added that zebra crossings were meant to ensure that pedestrians were safe and didn’t have to worry about getting hit by a car while walking across the road. He thanked the Sub-County Roads Engineer for the efforts so far but added that it would be even better if they erected sign-posts at a distance that indicated “Pedestrians Crossings Here”. This was meant to alert motorists who were new in the area of possible human traffic ahead.

He appealed to the County government to put more Zebra crossings and speed breakers (bumbs) in the area where people ran at risk of being ran over by vehicles while crossing the road.

However, he appealed to all motorists especially cyclists and bodaboda riders to respect the zebra crossings by giving way whenever pedestrians were crossing the road.  He said that some motorists continued to ignore these zebra crossing, just blowing through the crossing thereby endangering the safety of anyone trying to cross.  

According to traffic rules, Zebra crossings are controlled crossings where pedestrians have a legal priority over vehicles without the use of traffic signals. Motorists are bound to stop their vehicles behind the white line that marks the start of the zebra crossing.

Drivers approaching a zebra crossing should do so with caution, as any pedestrian who steps onto the crossing has priority. They must stop and give way to a pedestrian who has moved onto the zebra crossing and should only start again once all pedestrians have left the crossing. They must never overtake the moving or stopped vehicle closest to the zebra crossing. Cars must never be stopped or parked on the zig-zag markings at a Zebra crossing, as this reduces the visibility and can put pedestrians at a greater risk.

A taxi driver who talked to Thika Town today, said that pedestrians too needed to know how to use the Zebra Crossings.

“When pedestrians try to cross the road suddenly, their act puts everyone in danger. They confuse us. They appear to cross but they don’t and when we assume they won’t cross, they just do the opposite. This is risky to all of us,” he said.

It is therefore good to remind Pedestrians wishing to cross at a Zebra crossing that they must first stop at the edge of the road and wait for the traffic to stop in both directions. When the traffic has stopped they should cross whilst still watching for traffic. It is not unknown for cars to overtake those which have stopped to allow a person to cross. If the crossing has an island in the centre of the road, the pedestrian should stop on the island and wait until the traffic on the opposite side of the road stops before continuing to cross.

Pedestrians should also give traffic plenty of time to see the oncoming vehicles and to stop before they cross. Vehicles will need more time when the road is slippery. They should wait until traffic has stopped from both directions or the road is clear before crossing.

It is good to note that traffic does not have to stop until someone has moved onto the crossing. They should therefore keep looking both ways, and listening, in case a driver or rider had not seen them and is attempting to overtake a vehicle that has stopped

Crossing near the Zebra, but not actually on it, is very dangerous as drivers are more likely to be focusing on the crossing itself and may not see a person crossing elsewhere.

As for the Thika Town Crew we say, Great stuff! Kudos Thika Sub-County authorities for this initiative!  Such are the little things that matter, especially in regards to walkability and safe cycling.

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