February 29, 2024 | In Blog

Navigating road traffic offences and zebra crossing in Ghana

Look left, look right, look left again. Most of us were taught this rule when crossing a road as children. By adulthood we've learned new rules; ‘street rules’. Just visit any busy street in Accra to find the usual suspects, sellers laid siege to pedestrian walkways, hawkers playing Russian roulette in between moving cars and buses. Drivers crossing one another with insults in the air. To offer sanity to this mayhem are policemen, street signs and traffic lights. However, there's one solution, in black and white, yet often overlooked: the zebra crossing.

A zebra crossing is a symbol of pedestrian safety, often disrespected by drivers and pedestrians alike. This article delves into the legal implications surrounding road traffic offences in Ghana, focusing on the often-overlooked zebra crossings.

Zebra crossings are not mere paint on the road. It is a critical component of road safety infrastructure. Defined under the Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2180), zebra crossings are designated areas where pedestrians have the right of way over vehicular traffic. This means drivers are legally obligated to yield to pedestrians waiting or walking on these crossings.

The laws concerning road traffic offences in Ghana are thorough, covering different rules and regulations to guarantee the safety of everyone using the roads. Important legal documents include the Road Traffic Act of 2004 (Act 683) and related regulations like the Road Traffic Regulations 2012 (L.I. 2180). These laws explain the duties of drivers, pedestrians, and regulatory bodies in keeping the roads orderly and safe.

Despite clear legal provisions mandating the respect of zebra crossings, their significance is often overlooked in Ghanaian traffic culture. Failure to yield to pedestrians at zebra crossings constitutes a severe offence under Ghanaian law. According to section 73(1) of the Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2180), a driver who fails to give precedence to a pedestrian on a zebra crossing commits an offence and is liable upon summary conviction to a fine.

Additionally, pedestrians are not exempt from adherence to the law. Section 74(1) of the Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2180) mandates pedestrians to use zebra crossings where provided and to adhere to traffic signals and signs. Failure to comply with these provisions can result in penalties, emphasizing the shared responsibility of all road users in upholding traffic laws.

Effective enforcement of road traffic laws is crucial in fostering compliance and ensuring road safety. Law enforcement agencies are vital in monitoring and penalizing offenders who disregard zebra crossings. However, enforcement efforts must be complemented by educational campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of zebra crossings and pedestrian rights.

Zebra crossings symbolize more than just a safe passage for pedestrians; they represent a commitment to road safety and respect for the rights of all road users. In Ghana, the prevalence of road traffic offences, particularly concerning zebra crossings, underscores the need for heightened awareness, enforcement, and adherence to traffic laws. By recognizing the significance of zebra crossings and adhering to relevant legislation, we can collectively contribute to safer roads and communities. The next time you approach a zebra crossing, remember they are not meant for zebras but to ensure your safety. Use them!


Prince A. Acquaye is the Managing Partner at Corporate and Allied Attorneys, a dynamic law firm in Ghana. He specializes in corporate governance, intellectual property, immigration, general corporate commercial, data protection and M&A.

Michael Bannerman is a senior at Ashesi University, passionately pursuing a degree in Business Administration. Eager to learn and connect, he thrives on excellence and collaboration. Michael is a dedicated team player with a flair for leadership and detail orientation. Balancing academic achievements with interests in movies and dance, he is poised to make significant contributions wherever his journey takes him.