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A pedestrian is a road user who must comply with traffic regulations. Pedestrians are also subject to the obligation of anticipation, which requires care and caution in traffic. Pedestrians must not cause danger or damage by their own actions.

Pedestrian traffic regulations

Pedestrians include people travelling on foot, people using scooters, wheelchair users, roller skaters, skiers and people with prams. Pedestrians must comply with the pedestrian traffic rules. When in traffic, they must use areas designated for pedestrians. Pedestrians also include people who are walking with a bicycle or moped and those using devices to assist or replace travelling on foot.

Read the most common traffic regulation related to pedestrians and cycling in the On foot and by bike (Opens in a new window) guide (PDF).

In traffic, the pedestrian is also a road user, who has certain rights and obligations. Pedestrians must comply with traffic regulations and, in other respects as well, apply the care and caution required by the conditions. In addition, the pedestrian must anticipate the behaviour of other road users and adapt their actions accordingly to promote smooth and safe traffic. Road users shall not unduly block or impede traffic.

Pedestrians must use a pavement or verge when navigating in traffic. If there is no pavement or verge or if there is difficulty in navigating it, the pedestrian must use the edge of the cycle track or carriageway. On the carriageway, the pedestrian should keep to the left side. The road should be crossed via a zebra crossing or by using a pedestrian overpass or underpass if one is nearby.

  • Pedestrians walking on the pavement may walk on any section of the pavement.
  • Anyone walking on a cycle track must use either side of the cycle track. The law does not take a stand on how pedestrians’ encounters with one another are dealt with and who gives way in which direction. At pedestrian speeds, giving way should be possible.
  • On the carriageway, the pedestrian must walk on the left side. However, if using the right side is safer due to the nature of the route or for other reasons, it should be used.
  • The right-hand side of the carriageway may be used for walking a bicycle or moped.
  • Walking is permitted on all sections of courtyard streets. However, pedestrians may not unduly impede vehicle traffic.
  • Using the reflector in dark and dusk and crossing the carriageway along the zebra crossing whenever possible will improve the safety of pedestrians. In slippery weather conditions, anticipation, footwear with a good grip and shoe cleats will prevent falls.

The pedestrian should generally use a reflector in dark and dusk.

Pedestrians must be aware of their obligations and comply with them. The use of a mobile phone can draw our attention away from traffic also when on foot. It is best to stop, for example, before reading or sending messages. Also, avoid using headphones when in heavy traffic. A mobile phone user may not even notice the dangerous situations they are causing, as they are focused on their mobile phone.

Pedestrian regulations apply to wheelchair users. The same applies to a person transporting an assistive walking device or a mobility device with a structural speed not exceeding 15 km/h.

Assistive walking devices

Assistive walking devices or mobility devices are used on pedestrian routes. These devices have an engine of up to 1 kW and a maximum structural speed of 15 km/h.

Assistive walking devices refer to devices such as balanced people movers with one or several wheels, such as

  • balance scooters and
  • other similar light vehicles equipped with an electric motor.

Lightweight devices that travel up to 15 km/h are treated as equivalent to scooters and roller skates in traffic regulations, i.e. they are subject to pedestrian traffic regulations and should be used on pedestrian routes.

A self-balancing light electric vehicle can also be used on the pavement, but pedestrians must be given obstacle-free access to pavements.

Pedestrian accidents

The number of pedestrian traffic deaths and injuries has halved in the last ten years.

Over the past three years, an average of 21 pedestrians died and 360 were injured each year. According to the 2019 data, 37 were seriously injured. 60% of the deceased were men. 57% of the injured were women. One in ten road traffic fatalities and seven per cent of the injured were pedestrians.

60% of fatalities and nine out of ten injuries occurred in urban agglomerations. One in five of the victims were killed on a zebra crossing. 60% of pedestrian injuries occurred on a zebra crossing.

Almost half of all pedestrian fatalities and almost one in three of the injured were over 64 years old. Four out of five pedestrians and nearly one in three of those injured on a zebra crossing were over 64 years old. More than a quarter of pedestrians injured in road traffic were children or young people.

Half of all fatalities occurred in the dark or dusk. Traffic accident investigation panels estimated that a reflector might have saved three pedestrians who did not wear a reflector and died in an accident in the dark (accidents between 2015 and 2019).

Pedestrians and collision speed

The collision speed determines the possibilities for pedestrians to survive. The probability of death increases sharply when the collision speed exceeds 60 km/h.