Schutzweg (Austria)

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The protective path in Austria, also known as a pedestrian crossing , is a crossing system on roads for pedestrians and wheelchair users . According to § 2 Para. 1 Z 12 StVO 1960, a protective route is “a part of the lane marked by uniform longitudinal strips (so-called 'zebra stripes') intended for pedestrians to cross the lane”. In addition to this, cross-usually with white vertical stripes on the road marked, Zebra Crossing, "in which ever-powered light signals to regulate traffic or supply flashing yellow light are not present", the corresponding road signs marking a protected path (§ 53. The Signs).

Since in most cases there is a difference in level (step) between the pavement and the road, the curb is usually lowered or beveled at pedestrian walkways to make it easier to cross with strollers , wheelchairs or handcarts . In contrast to a pedestrian overpass or a pedestrian underpass , a protective path always crosses the carriageway at its level, and in traffic-calmed streets doubled to pavement height.

Identification, legal basis

The protective path is marked by white lines with a width of 0.5 meters in the longitudinal direction of the carriageway and has a standard width of 3 meters.

The nature and type of attachment are specified in federal state-specific guidelines, which are similar everywhere.

In addition, the protective route must be marked with the sign indicating a protective route ( Section 53 (1) lit.2a and 2c StVO), unless it is identified by yellow flashing lights on the edge or above the lane or is regulated by light signals ( traffic light regulation ). No additional labeling is necessary for controlled crossings . It can also be announced in advance by means of the protective path hazard sign. Protective paths in front of schools are often also temporarily secured by police officers or school guides to enable students to use the protective path without problems. The behavior of vehicle drivers in front of a protective path is regulated in Section 9 (2) of the StVO, the behavior of pedestrians - and thus also crossing the lane on protective paths - is regulated in Section 76 of the StVO.

Cyclists crossing , so to speak, a protective path for cyclists, are similar in terms of labeling and the commands and prohibitions .

In the first half of 2006, the number of accidents involving children on protective trails in Austria rose by up to 55%. Experts were puzzled as to how such an enormous increase could have come about in such a short time, especially since a lot had been invested in security in previous years. Some experts spoke of a negative influence from daylight , which was mandatory for vehicles in Austria from November 15, 2005 to December 31, 2007. In 2010 attempts were made with video surveillance of protective paths in Vienna, in 2006 with flashing LED lane lights in Graz to increase the attention of motorists.


  • The following applies to pedestrians and wheelchair users, in accordance with Section 76 (6) of the StVO: “If there are protective paths or underpasses or overpasses designed for pedestrians, pedestrians must use these facilities. However, if none of these facilities are available or if they are more than 25 m away, pedestrians in the local area are only allowed to cross the carriageway at intersections, unless the traffic situation undoubtedly allows a safe crossing of the carriageway in other places. "
  • According to Section 9 (2) of the StVO, vehicle drivers (with the exception of drivers of rail vehicles) must enable pedestrians to cross the lane unhindered on the protective route as soon as a pedestrian intends to cross the lane. As a rule, this will require stopping; However, it can also be omitted if the purpose of the protective path (namely that pedestrians can cross the road safely and unhindered, although vehicles are approaching the protective path) is also achieved in this way.


  • The following applies in front of unregulated protective routes: Overtaking by all vehicles is prohibited, unless the overtaking process is ended before the protective route and the vehicle can be stopped if necessary to allow pedestrians to cross.
  • There is an absolute no-stopping or parking ban on the protective path; also five meters in front of the protective path from the view of incoming traffic if the protective path is unregulated.
  • It is forbidden to drive past vehicles that have stopped in front of a protective path to allow a pedestrian to cross.
  • Stopping on the protective route in the backwater of a column is also prohibited.
  • Since a protective path in the transverse direction to the roadway may not be used, this also applies to drivers of bicycles and equivalent vehicles (electric bikes, electric scooters, and the like), unless there is an additional marking or a connected cyclist crossing . Pushing a bike on the protective path is allowed, however, as a person pushing a bike is not considered to be a driver of a vehicle, but a pedestrian.

Approaches to increasing traffic safety

Red and white zebra crossing in Lower Austria

In order to increase traffic safety, attempts are made again and again to improve the visibility of the protective routes:

  • Since 2004, there have been extensive attempts in Amstetten to mark the protective path with alternating red and white stripes. Since 2010, the white bars on numerous protective trails have been highlighted in red.
  • For psychological reasons, attempts were made in Graz from autumn 2004 to spring 2006 to set up the crosswalk in a transverse direction in order to better motivate the driver to stop in front of the protective path. According to the evaluation of the accompanying studies, these attempts are considered to have failed in June 2006 because they did not improve the situation.
  • Another security system has been in use for some time (before 2007), it involves flush-fitting LED lights that are embedded in the lane in front of the crosswalk marking and start to flash via a sensor system as soon as a pedestrian approaches the crosswalk. This is intended to increase the drivers' attention and willingness to stop at particularly dangerous pedestrian crossings.
  • At the end of 2017, so-called "3D zebra crossings" were marked in the cities of Linz (Upper Austria), Klagenfurt and Villach (Carinthia); in Salzburg, similar security concepts were being considered at the time. According to the Austrian APA , such 3D zebra crossings have already been tested in India , China , Russia , Spain and the Icelandic city ​​of Ísafjörður . The 3D effect results from an optical illusion, which makes the protective path appear to be floating, which is intended to increase the driver's attention to the pedestrian. Because the effect is only noticeable to incoming traffic, it is mainly suitable for one-way traffic. In the two Carinthian cities, this type of floor marking is being carried out as a research project by the Kuratorium für Verkehrssicherheit (KFV), accompanied by the Province of Carinthia. Gernot Darmann , the then traffic safety officer and regional councilor of the Carinthian regional government , wanted to “examine the effects of three-dimensional crosswalks on traffic safety in Austria” and it was planned to make the research results available to all Austrian municipalities and cities. The head of research at KFV, Klaus Robatsch, argued about the project: “In Austria, around 1,200 pedestrians per year have accidents on protected paths. This shows that pedestrians are also at risk on the protective path and must be protected even better. For this reason, we are working intensively on testing new measures to increase safety on protective routes on a scientific basis. "
  • Occasionally, if the traffic expert does not approve a regular zebra crossing in a municipality, red crossing aids are applied to the road as floor markings. These would be noticed, but are of no legal significance.

Web links

Wiktionary: zebra crossing  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Schutzweg in Austria  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Guideline for protective routes ( memento of June 12, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 2.2 MB) for the federal state of Salzburg, accessed on November 14, 2019.
  2. Protection route guidelines ( memento from November 19, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 471 kB) of the federal state of Styria from 2011, accessed on November 14, 2019.
  3. ^ Vienna: First protective path with video surveillance. In: June 7, 2010, accessed November 27, 2012 .
  4. Michael Möseneder: Forty percent of drivers ignore Schutzweg. In: June 8, 2010, accessed November 27, 2012 .
  5. pedestrian crossing. In: Website of the driving school Fürböck (Mödling), undated, accessed on January 14, 2020.
  6. Linz gets Austria's first 3D zebra crossing. An optical illusion is intended to make drivers more aware of pedestrians. ( Including YouTube videos of the 3D zebra crossings in Linz and the Icelandic Ísafjörður.) In: Die Presse / APA , November 17, 2017, accessed on January 18, 2020.
  7. Gerhard Repp per source from the Province of Carinthia: The research project "3D zebra stripes" is being implemented together with KFV in the partner cities of Klagenfurt and Villach. In:, November 22, 2017, accessed on January 18, 2020.
  8. Red crossing aids. In: Website of the driving school Fürböck (Mödling), undated, accessed on January 14, 2020.