What do I need to know about these crossings?

Crossing the road is safest when using a pedestrian crossing of some kind – there are quite a few, as you’ll see in the summary below. Each one has specific rules and requirements, so make sure you’re aware of what your responsibilities are when using these crossings.

  • Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has more detailed information on what you need to know when using each type of crossing – and what to do if you are biking or driving when approaching a pedestrian crossing.
  • If you’re a motorist, check out Driving Test NZ – their site also has useful material about drivers and how to use the different kinds of pedestrian crossings (whether you’re working towards getting your driver’s licence or you’re an experienced driver).

Remember – safety relies on everyone doing their bit – so make sure you know how to use and respect the various types of pedestrian crossings around Hamilton.

Crossing types

Courtesy crossings

Courtesy crossings are usually made of thermo print - a brick-like paving - that is raised above the level of the road.

At a raised courtesy crossing, cars have the right of way – but they can give way as a ‘courtesy’ if they wish. Always be aware when approaching these crossings by car that pedestrians may step out onto them anyway, so approach them slowly and be prepared to stop.

Pedestrian or ‘zebra’ crossings

These have clearly marked white crossing bars over the road, pedestrians have the right of way. You must stop and give way to pedestrians who are about to or are already using these kinds of crossings.

  • If there’s a traffic island as part of the crossing, you need only give way to people using your side of the crossing.
  • If a school patrol is operating at a zebra crossing, stop when a sign is held out and wait until it’s pulled back in.

Signalised crossings

Crossings at traffic lights are controlled by ‘walk’ /’don’t walk’ signs. These are usually an image of a green and red man in the electronic pedestrian crossing display screen mounted on the lights’ pole. Signalised crossings often also have paved areas with distinctive raised patterns on them, and/or sounds to accompany the visual signals or queues. These features assist people who are vision-impaired.

Signalised pedestrian crossings with an island (refuge)

When the button is pushed at these crossings, traffic is stopped on that side of the road only. This is because the crossing layout provides a semi-fenced central island, or refuge, in the middle of the road. This means pedestrians can cross one half of the road at a time, waiting in the ‘refuge’ areas before crossing the rest of the road.

Shared zones, crossings and paths

In these shared areas it’s even more important that everyone is aware of each other. In particular, bikes and micro-mobility devices like e-scooters and e-skateboards and e-bikes need to keep their speed below 15 km/h. See the link to safety tips below for more information.

Shared zones are areas of roadway that can be used by vehicles, people on bikes, mobility devices and pedestrians. Because of this, everyone using the shared zone needs to be very aware of who else is in the zone. In particular, drivers need to slow down and watch for pedestrians and bikes. Pedestrians may need to wait before entering the shared zone if vehicles and bikes are passing through it, although ideally, drivers can slow to a stop and wave pedestrians through.

Shared paths are designed for people on foot, mobility users and people riding bikes, for example, the river paths along the Waikato river and shared paths along Wairere Drive on the eastern side of Hamilton. Remember to watch your speeds if you’re on a bike, e-bike, e-scooter or e-skateboard – it’s courtesy to use your bell to let people know you’re coming up behind them.

Shared crossings may have a set of coloured crossing lights that display bike symbols as well as the normal pedestrian lights. Cross when the bike symbol is green. Pedestrians must only cross when the pedestrian symbol is green – this may be at the same time or separately.

Kea crossings

A kea crossing is a temporary school patrol crossing without a marked pedestrian (zebra) crossing. Stop when a sign is held out and wait until it’s pulled back in.

Bike crossings

Some crossings are designed for people riding bikes, for example, to cross an intersection while using a bike path. Bike crossings have a set of coloured crossing lights that display bike symbols. Cross when the bike symbol is green.

Railway crossings

When you approach a railway crossing, you should slow down and be ready to stop, whether you’re driving a vehicle, riding a bike or micro-mobility device, or walking.

  • You need to do this even if the railway’s crossing has bells, lights and/or barrier arms that are not active, in case there is a fault with this equipment and a train is still approaching down the line.
  • If the crossing has active bells, lights or barrier arms, then you must wait until the bells and lights have stopped and the barrier has moved out of the way.
  • Some railway crossings don’t have bells, lights or barriers. Look as far as you can up and down the railway line to check whether any trains are coming.

Related pages

Active transport

Active transport means getting around that is powered by human energy, such as walking and biking. At Council, we…

Public transport

Get on board with public transport in and around Hamilton, including city and regional buses and the Te Huia…

Related information



Share this page


Has this page been helpful?
Thanks for your feedback.

Last updated 3 April 2023