Unprotected road users

Contents

High risk areas

When you drive in densely built-up areas you will meet and pass many unprotected road users. To minimise the risk of accidents, you must be watchful, drive with caution and maintain a sufficiently low speed.

As a driver, you must always show consideration to pedestrians, cyclists and moped riders. Children, elderly people and people with disabilities must be given particular consideration, as well as the time they need, as they are not able to move or act as quickly as others.


In densely built-up areas, you must maintain a sufficiently low speed to reduce the risk of accidents

Adapted speed

Your speed is crucial to the difficulty level of your driving. With a properly adapted speed, you have more time to plan your driving, your awareness increases and other road users have more time to discover you.

You must always maintain a speed adapted to the current traffic situation, taking into account visibility, the road and road surface, the condition of your vehicle, other road users and general traffic conditions.

You must also adapt your speed so that you always have control over your car and are able to stop within the part of the road that you can overlook and in front of any obstacles that can be foreseen.

Keep in mind that a speed limit indicated on a road sign does not necessarily mean that it is appropriate to drive at that speed. The road sign only states that you must not drive at a higher speed than that indicated on the road sign.


You must be able to stop within the part of the road that you can overlook and in front of any obstacles that can be foreseen

If you hit a pedestrian or another unprotected road user with your car, your speed is absolutely decisive in the consequences for the accident victim. If the collision takes place at 30 km/h, the risk of the road user being killed is 10%. If the collision takes place at 50 km/h, however, the risk increases to 80%.

Accident statistics for pedestrians, cyclists and moped riders (2019):


A pedestrian who is hit by a car at 50 km/h has little chance of survival

Recommended lower speed

On some road sections and in some areas there are road signs that state a recommended lower speed. In these places, specific speed reduction measures have often been implemented – usually through the use of speed bumps or other obstacles – or conditions are such that it is appropriate to drive at a lower speed than the maximum permissible. Such recommended reduced speeds exist mainly to protect pedestrians and other unprotected road users.


Recommended lower speed

Driving at a higher speed than indicated on the sign is not prohibited, but it is inappropriate. 50 km/h is usually the maximum permissible speed, as such signs are most commonly found in densely built-up areas.

Readiness for action

You must always be prepared to act when driving. Furthermore, in certain risky situations – for example, when you approach children playing on or beside a road – you must ready yourself for action. This means that you are prepared and ready to manoeuvre or brake the car at any time. When you ready yourself for action your senses are heightened, which reduces your reaction time and thus also the car's stopping distance.


By readying yourself for action and trying to anticipate risks, you can stop the car much faster if you discover an obstacle or hazard

If you suspect that a hazardous situation may soon require you to quickly stop the car, you can take your foot of the accelerator and place it above the brake pedal instead. To do so is called readying yourself for braking.

There are many situations that require readiness for action. Some examples are when you:

Children

You must always be aware of the fact that children may be found on or beside the road almost anywhere. In residential areas and outside schools and kindergartens, you must be especially attentive. As you approach children, you must adapt your speed and ready yourself for action.

Children are often impulsive and do not always think before they act. It is not uncommon for children to suddenly run onto the road – maybe chasing a ball or running away from someone as part of a game. Before reversing, keep in mind that children sometimes hide or play behind parked cars as well.

Children also often play together with other children. So when you see a child on or near the road, you have to be prepared for there to be other children nearby.


Always remember that children can be very impulsive and that they do not understand the dangers of traffic

Although you may think a child has seen your car, it is not at all certain that he or she has done so, or that the child will not run onto the street regardless.

It may also be the other way around: you might not see a child who is heading onto the street. As most children are small, you might not see a child behind a bush or parked car further down the road.

Keep in mind that children do not have the same vision and hearing abilities that adults do. They cannot switch from near to long-distance vision or determine where a sound is coming from in the same way adults can. Children are also unable to accurately judge speeds and distances.


You must adapt your speed and ready yourself for action as you approach children on or beside the road

Be especially attentive:


Children crossing

School crossing patrol

The school crossing patrol is an operation that exists at some schools. Members of the school crossing patrol are easily identifiable in their orange raincoats. Their task is to help children safely across the road and to alert drivers that there are children in the vicinity. However, they have no authority to stop or direct traffic.

School transport

You must always pass stationary school transport vehicles at low speed and with great care, especially if the vehicle's warning lights are flashing. Always expect that a child, on his or her way to or from the vehicle, might suddenly run across the street – in front of or behind the vehicle.

About 100 meters before a school transport vehicle is going to stop to pick up or drop off children, the driver turns on flashing warning lights at the rear (and sometimes at the front) of the vehicle. The lights continue to flash during the entire stop and until about 100 meters after it.


Before, during and after a school transport vehicle picks up or drops off children, warning lights on the vehicle flash

Elderly people

Elderly people should always be given extra consideration, especially in traffic. Elderly people often have poorer vision, hearing, balance and a diminished ability to assess traffic situations and make quick decisions. Many elderly people have problems at junctions due to the large number of vehicles and sensory impressions. Have patience and always give elderly people who walk, cycle or drive the time they need.

People with disabilities

Visually impaired people and wheelchair users are usually easily spotted, but there are many road users with disabilities that are harder to detect. Never assume that all people who are close to the road are able to hear your car or see it approaching. There are also those who need extra time to cross the street or decide whether to cross it or not.

You are not allowed to honk at someone you think is crossing the street too slowly. A horn may only be used to attract the attention of other road users in order to avert a dangerous situation. For example, if you suspect a pedestrian has not seen your car and is heading out onto the street.

Visually impaired people

For blind and visually impaired people it can be difficult and unpleasant to be out in traffic. Always assume that a person with a white stick or guide dog is visually impaired and should be given extra consideration as well as time.

Visually impaired people can communicate their intentions with their stick. Pay attention to how they use it:


Extra consideration should be given to people with a white stick or guide dog

The road sign which indicates that people with impaired vision are common has a symbol consisting of five black dots in a row. The road sign which indicates that people with impaired hearing are common has a symbol consisting of three black dots in a circle.


Impaired vision


Impaired hearing

Pedestrians

In Sweden, about 40-50 pedestrians are killed in traffic accidents each year. Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable at pedestrian crossings, especially in densely built-up areas with a lot of traffic. Nearly one-third of accidents involving both motor vehicles and pedestrians occur at or near pedestrian crossings.

You must always approach pedestrian crossings with caution – regardless of whether the crossing is supervised or unsupervised, whether you have a green light, or whether you are approaching when either driving straight ahead or when making a turn.


Pedestrian crossings are a place where pedestrians should be protected and able to feel safe

Unsupervised pedestrian crossings

As a driver, you must give way to pedestrians who have entered or are about to enter an unsupervised pedestrian crossing, which is a pedestrian crossing that is not equipped with traffic signals.

Supervised pedestrian crossings

At supervised pedestrian crossings the duty to give way is regulated by traffic signals. You are only allowed to pass when the traffic signal is green. If you pass a supervised pedestrian crossing when making a turn and both you and the pedestrians have a green light at the same time it is you who must give way.

You must always be prepared to stop for pedestrians at pedestrian crossings, even when the traffic signal is green and you are driving on a straight road. There may be pedestrians who have correctly entered the crossing, but not been able to cross the road in time. Slow down or stop completely and let them cross safely before continuing.


At supervised pedestrian crossings the duty to give way is regulated by traffic signals

Avoid misunderstandings

If you are unsure whether a pedestrian intends to cross a pedestrian crossing or not, you must slow down or stop completely until you are absolutely sure of the pedestrian's intention. By making eye contact with a hesitant pedestrian, you are usually able to understand what he or she intends to do.

You must never wave on a pedestrian or cyclist waiting at a pedestrian crossing as that can lull the person into a false sense of security. In the worst case, this can lead to them crossing without paying attention to traffic coming from another direction.


Always make eye contact with hesitant pedestrians at pedestrian crossings to avoid misunderstandings

Residential areas and pedestrian zones

Residential areas and pedestrian zones are places where all vehicle traffic must be adapted to pedestrians. Within areas following either of the road signs Residential area or Pedestrian zone, the following rules always apply:


In residential areas and pedestrian zones all vehicle traffic must be adapted to pedestrians

It is normally not allowed to drive along streets in pedestrian zones. However, drivers are allowed to cross them if they follow the rules for residential areas.

Driving along streets in pedestrian zones is only allowed for:


Residential area


Pedestrian zone

Cyclists and moped riders

More and more people are using cycles for transportation and new cycle lanes and cycle paths are constantly being built in our towns and cities. This is obviously good for the environment, but it also increases the risk of accidents between motor vehicles, cyclists and moped riders.

Cyclists, moped riders and, to some extent, motorcycle riders are unprotected in traffic. When passing them you must adapt your speed and keep enough clearance to your sides to allow for any wobbling or unsteady movement. Elderly cyclists are especially prone to wobbling, and many of them also find it difficult to turn their head before turning. The risk of cyclists, moped and motorcycle riders wobbling increases when it is windy.

Keep in mind that cyclists and moped riders are allowed to overtake you on both the left and right side. This means that a cyclist or moped rider may suddenly appear next to you, or just behind you. The risks associated with this are greatest when you turn in densely built-up areas with a lot of traffic.


Cyclists and moped riders are allowed to overtake you on both the left and right side

Before turning, moving your car sideways or reversing, you must always check your rear-view mirror and side mirrors as well as your vehicle's blind spot by briefly glancing over your shoulder. The blind spot is the area not covered by any mirror.

Mopeds class 1 and 2

Class 1 mopeds (EU mopeds) should primarily be driven on hard shoulders and secondly on carriageways. Class 1 mopeds must not be driven in public transport lanes (bus lanes), in cycle lanes, on cycle paths or on motorways or clearways.

Class 2 mopeds should primarily be driven on cycle paths, secondly on hard shoulders and thirdly on carriageways. Class 2 mopeds may also be driven in cycle or bus lanes, if these lanes are to the right in the direction of travel. Class 2 mopeds must not be driven on motorways or clearways.


Class 1 mopeds should primarily be driven on hard shoulders and secondly on carriageways

Cycle lanes, cycle paths, cycle passages and cycle crossings

To increase accessibility and reduce the risk of accidents for cyclists and moped riders (class 2), many roads have special lanes, paths and crossings intended for these road users.


Cycle crossing

Give way rules

It is important to remember that you as a driver, in one way or another, always have obligations to cyclists and moped riders when you are crossing a cycle lane, cycle path, cycle passage or cycle crossing.

Cycle lanes

You may only cross a cycle lane if you can do so without endangering or unnecessarily obstructing cyclists and moped riders in the lane.

Cycle paths

When you are going to cross a cycle path you have a duty to give way.

Unsupervised cycle passages

When driving on a straight road and approaching an unsupervised cycle passage, cyclists and moped riders have a duty to give way, but you must adapt your speed so as not to endanger them.

When you are about to cross an unsupervised cycle passage after making a turn or emerging from a roundabout, you should drive at a low speed and stop for cyclists and moped riders who are on or are about to enter the cycle passage.


As the truck driver is going to cross the cycle passage in connection with a turn, he must stop for cyclists who are on or about to enter the cycle passage

Supervised cycle passages

When driving on a straight road and approaching a supervised cycle passage you must obey traffic signals. However, you must also allow cyclists and moped riders, who have correctly entered the cycle passage, to cross in peace and quiet. This is the case even if you have a green light.

When you are about to cross a supervised cycle passage in connection with a turn, you should drive at a low speed and give way to cyclists and moped riders who have correctly entered or are about to enter the cycle passage. This is the case even if you have a green light.

Unsupervised cycle crossings

When you are about to cross an unsupervised cycle crossing you have a duty to give way to cyclists and moped riders who are on or about to enter the cycle crossing.

Supervised cycle crossings

When driving on a straight road and approaching a supervised cycle crossing you must obey traffic signals. However, you must also allow cyclists and moped riders, who have correctly entered the cycle crossing, to cross in peace and quiet. This is the case even if you have a green light.

When you are about to cross a supervised cycle crossing in connection with a turn, you should drive at a low speed and give way to cyclists and moped riders who have correctly entered or are about to enter the cycle crossing. This is the case even if you have a green light.


Always be prepared to stop when you approach an intersecting cycle path, cycle passage or cycle crossing

Pedestrian crossings

When riding, a cyclist at a pedestrian crossing always has a duty to give way to both pedestrians and vehicles on the road. If, on the other hand, the cyclist gets off the bike and walks across the pedestrian crossing, the cyclist is now considered a pedestrian, which means that you as a driver have a duty to give way.

If you approach a pedestrian crossing which a cyclist is riding through, you still must lower your speed or stop if it is necessary to avoid a collision, even if it is technically the cyclist who should stop and give way.

Instructional video

Click on the picture below to watch Transportstyrelsen's instructional video about cycle passages and cycle crossings.

At junctions

When you are going to pass a junction, you must be aware of the fact that cyclists and moped riders may usually turn left in two different ways:

  1. Prior to the turn they can stay in the right-hand part of the left-hand lane and then turn left at the junction. This is called "the tighter turn".
  2. They may also keep to the right in the right-hand lane and continue straight ahead, crossing over to the other side of the junction. When it is safe to do so, they may complete the left turn by riding or leading the cycle across the road. This is called "the wider turn".

Cyclists and moped riders in a lane that is solely intended for right-turning traffic are not allowed to make the "the wider turn".

Even if it looks like a cyclist is going to continue straight ahead or turn right at a junction, he or she might turn left when you least expect it. Be extra attentive at junctions, especially when there is a lot of traffic, so that no misunderstandings arise.