The different zebra crossings in Spain
Many people get confused by the different colours of road marking which appear to be for pedestrian use as crossings. There are basically three colours the normal black and white ones known almost internationally as Zebra Crossings, red and white ones, and also blue and white ones.
What do they actually mean? Here we will explain in the simplest terms for clarification.
There are two ways that this can be explained the legal one and the simple one! Quite literally as we know crossings are made by painting road markings on the wide area of a road from one side to the other forming a “Crossing Area”. This area is where drivers of vehicles and surprisingly animals too, MUST permit pedestrians to cross safely. However the other coloured “crossings” i.e. red and blue quite clearly under this law states that you must not use these as Zebra crossings unless a sign clearly states they are for crossing on, although many people do and many drivers do stop to allow pedestrians to cross at these coloured markings. Please note however that the law quite clearly states PEDESTRIANS are permitted to cross, which does not mean cyclists. So the only LEGAL Pedestrian crossings are those black and white ones.
So what do the other coloured markings, which appear to be crossings, act as in legal terms. Various studies have been carried out in order to assist those making the traffic laws and the slowing down of traffic. And from said studies what is known as traffic calming measures have been put into place which has become more apparent in recent years by large road humps being placed in strategic places and painted in either red or blue, leading people to think these are crossings. They are as stated traffic calming measures to slow down drivers in built up areas or dangerous parts of various roads that were often bad accident spots. Some work and some don’t as we all know. Also unfortunately some of the road humps do not comply with the law and have had to be removed. Part of the reason for this is that it is the local Authority i.e. Ayuntamientos that are responsible for the positioning of these such humps and not the Guardia Civil i.e. traffic police or those making the laws.
A lot of attention has and is almost always given to traffic calming measures and /or Zebra crossings in areas near schools and children’s playgrounds where it is highly possible that a child could run out from between parked cars without looking or thinking directly into the path of an oncoming car who quite often has little or no possibility of not hitting the pedestrian. It is quite often pedestrians that cause an accident and harm then can occur to not only the person but also the car and in some cases its driver and passengers.
To sum up you should only use the black and white marked areas to safely cross the roads and of course it goes without saying that pedestrians should always look before crossing. Drivers have multiple things to consider when driving and pedestrians can potentially be a hazard to them through no fault of their own.
From a drivers point of view you must be aware of all potential hazards not only other cars, bikes and cyclists but also pedestrians, especially children who often are still learning, or do not have at that time road sense and safety in their mind……..only their ball that has just rolled into the road which they want back.