A “safety zone” is the area or space lawfully set apart within a roadway for the exclusive use of pedestrians and which is protected, or which is marked or indicated by vertical signs, raised markers or raised buttons, in order to make such area or space plainly visible at all times. Such zones include roadside construction sites, pedestrian sidewalks, and crosswalks when occupied, school bus loading and unloading zones, and other areas that a motor vehicle has access to, but is prohibited by law from being driven on, over, or through. A safety zone is also know as a pedestrian refuge or pedestrian island where a pedestrian(s) can stop before completely crossing a road. A safety zone is typically used when a road is very wide, and the time to completely cross it may be too long for some pedestrians to cross during a traffic signal’s walk cycle.
It is also often used when there is no traffic signal, and a pedestrian(s) needs ‘a safe zone’ on which to stop after crossing one direction of traffic and before crossing the next direction of traffic. A safety zone is intended to significantly reduce the risk for a pedestrian (s) crossing a wide road with a speed limit greater than 25 mph from being struck by an oncoming vehicle. A pedestrian(s) is able to use two gaps in traffic traffic by stopping on the safety zone between opposing travel lanes or oncoming traffic and waiting for a gap in traffic in order to complete a crossing. The use of a safety zone often reduces the average wait time for a pedestrian(s) to cross a road. It also improves safety for an impatient pedestrian(s) who may attempt to use a single gap in traffic that is insufficient for a safe crossing on a wide two-way road.