Miyazaki: Colorful crosswalks expected to reduce accidents

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A crosswalk is seen painted in red and white stripes near the Miyazaki prefectural government office in Miyazaki.

MIYAZAKI — Most Japanese people expect proper crosswalks to be drawn in white paint on black asphalt roads, but recently colorful ones have started to appear. A ight red-and-white striped crosswalk showed up in August this year near the prefectural government office in the center of Miyazaki.

Laws stipulate that drivers are obligated to stop or slow down at crosswalks so that pedestrians can cross the road safely, but this rule is often not observed.

The colorful crosswalks are intended to attract drivers’ attention. And based on observations of traffic, they seem to work, as more cars appeared to slow down before the crosswalk.

In Hokkaido, where crosswalks are often covered with snow, red and white crosswalks have been in use since around 2008 and have actually reduced traffic accidents. But many people are still unfamiliar with the efforts, so they often post about it on social media out of surprise.

Crosswalks must be white as required by a government decree, but there are no regulations regarding the spaces between the white lines.

In Miyazaki Prefecture, the spaces were painted red because the color is “easily visible from a distance,” while in Yugawara, Kanagawa Prefecture, they were painted blue and in Suma Ward, Kobe, green.

Courtesy of the Yugawara municipal government
A crosswalk in Yugawara, Kanagawa Prefecture