The UK’s zebra crossings are 60 years old but, just like many animals, are under severe danger of extinction.
The original appeared in Slough, in the county of Berkshire, in 1951. However, well over one thousand have been taken away during the last 5yrs.
Others have been substituted by more innovative solutions with flashing lights and signs.
The sheer numbers of deaths on the crossings has increased by 100% since 2007, in part due to growing unwillingness of motorists to stop at crossings.
‘Zebras are regarded as far inferior to other pedestrian crossings since there is no red light indicating to cars when to stop,’ said a spokesman of road safety at the AA. ‘In some UK towns, there’s pressure from locals for councils to replace them with pelican crossings as local residents believe that they are more safe, so zebras are being replaced.
’The UK government introduced the crossings since the number of collisions with pedestrians on the streets was going up. The government upgraded crossings designated with metal studs on the street, that were found to be too difficult for people to see.
A multitude of different colours were considered, including blue and yellow and even red and white stripes. Finally black and white was eventually found to give the best visual effect. James Callaghan MP, who eventually became prime minister, was the first person to see the likeness to the zebra, and the rest as they say is history.
However, the sheer number of deaths was still high so the panda crossing, came into being in 1962.
A zebra crossing costs about £10,000, whilst traffic light crossings, that can be operated by the pedestrians, are about £35,000.
Five people died on zebra crossings last year, and 144 were injured, in comparison with only three deaths in 2006. One factor is the fact fines for drivers neglecting to come to a stop at the crossings are less in Britain than in other countries in mainland Europe. In Britain motorists face a £60 fee and three points, however the highest fee in Belgium could possibly be £2,000.
One of the most famous zebra crossings is situated at Abbey Road in London – which was used on the 1969 Beatles album of the same name.
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