THE call to observe highway codes is born out of the need to ensure that road users, pedestrians and those using other means of transportation get to their destination safely.
There are different traffic signs and highway codes for drivers, pedestrians and other road users to ensure safety on the road. Some of these road signs are familiar while some are not.
These unfamiliar signs may be known but ignored by road users. One of the unfamiliar traffic signs is the ‘Zebra Crossing’.
Zebra crossing is a pedestrian crossing marked by black and white stripes. The black and white stripes run across from one side of the road to the other in the manner of a Zebra’s coat.
The essence of this traffic sign is to give the right of way to pedestrians and aids their crossing along roads where this is marked.
Whenever pedestrians step on them, drivers must stop to allow them cross the road.
Zebra crossings are generally in residential areas, downtown or business districts of cities or where people’s activities spill onto the road. This road sign is especially useful to the old, children, disabled and feeble pedestrians.
This simple and efficient way of ensuring people cross the road with ease seems to have lost its purpose. Pedestrians are often seen scrambling on the road to save themselves from speeding vehicles by any means possible.
On the other hand, this road sign gives pedestrians priority and means that they can cross without delay. Most pedestrians are not aware of the fact that they are secured when they walk on the Zebra crossing. This often leads to chaos, which finally culminates in a traffic jam or road accident.
To maintain peaceful and safe interaction between pedestrians, motorists and riders, the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Oyo State Chapter, embarked on Zebra Crossing projects in Ibadan.
Some of these areas where the Zebra crossing traffic signs were marked are University College Hospital Main Gate, Old Ife Road, Challenge and Ring Road. This project was done in conjunction with Gate of Praise Foundation.
Speaking during the Zebra crossing marking at the University College Hospital (UCH) Main Gate, the Chief Medical Director, Abiodun Otegbayo challenged the media and other stakeholders to sensitise the public, especially motorists on the need to observe road signs to reduce cases of accidents on the highway.
Prof Otegbayo believed that if people were adequately informed about road signs and adhere to them, accidents would be greatly reduced.
The CMD noted that many people go in and out of the hospital and with the marking of the Zebra crossing road sign, pedestrians can cross the road with less difficulty.
The CMD called for the sensitisation and enlightenment of drivers and other road users on the importance of obeying traffic signs.
Prof Otegbayo commended NAWOJ for the initiative, adding that it will help reduce accidents on the road.
Commenting on the Zebra crossing project, the Deputy Corp Commander Operations, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Oyo Sector Command, Olalekan Morakinyo, said that Zebra crossing was a road sign for safety, saying that the rule is for drivers to stop for pedestrians to cross the road with ease.
According to him, the rule was that motorists should stop a meter away from Zebra crossing marks whenever pedestrians stepped on it and they should avoid overtaking on the marks.
He said the road sign was one of the ways to prevent accidents on the way.
Chairperson, NAWOJ, Oyo State, Comrade Jadesola Ajibola noted that the Zebra crossing project at UCH main entrance was done due to the busy nature of the road to prevent accidents, which were common there.
A representative of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr Adekanbi Aderogba said sensitisation had been on-going with FRSC to educate the public on the need for proper road usage, especially as the ember months approach.