Guide To Pedestrian Crossings


Pedestrian Crossings

The following information is intended as a guide to help motorists deal with pedestrian crossings in the U.K. In order for people to cross the road safely drivers must know how to approach pedestrian crossings, and understand the rules surrounding them.

Pedestrian crossings are frequently situated near busy shopping areas, schools, care homes for the elderly, and anywhere people would have difficulty crossing busy roads without the assistance of crossing systems.

The main types of crossings in the U.K.are:

Pelican, Puffin, Toucan, Zebra, Equestrian and School Crossing Patrol.

The following information explains specifically the Pelican and Puffin crossings.

General Information Pedestrian Crossings

Treat the approach to all types of pedestrian crossing similarly. Look for people waiting at crossings. If they are present then the crossing is likely to operate for them- that means your traffic signal will soon turn red. If you view towards the sides of the crossing is obstructed, remember you therefore can’t see pedestrians waiting, and they can’t see you. In this instance be cautious and slow down to be ready to stop. It is illegal to overtake within the area of white zigzag lines on approach to crossings.

If you are waiting at the crossing remember not to harass pedestrians by revving your engine, give them the time they need. The elderly and frail normally need longer to cross. Avoid beckoning a waiting pedestrian to cross. It might not be safe and if another vehicle was approaching – especially from behind you – it could be very dangerous.

You must avoid stopping in the area for pedestrians to cross. In traffic queues it must be kept clear.

Pelican Crossing

The sequence of light changes is:

Red – stop

Flashing Amber – only proceed if all pedestrians have finished crossing.

Green – go if safe

Amber – stop

Red – stop

The pelican crossing is the only type to have a flashing amber sequence, after the light has shown red. If the light is flashing amber only proceed if all pedestrians have finished crossing, and watch for people rushing to cross.

 Puffin – pedestrian user friendly intelligent crossing

A modern version of the Pelican crossing, the puffin crossing has sensors that detect when pedestrians have crossed or walked away from the crossing. The advantage of the Puffin over the Pelican is that immediately the pedestrians have finished crossing, or walked away the lights are changed through the sequence red, red/amber, green. This way traffic can move on as soon as pedestrians have crossed. Another difference is the pedestrian red or green man monitor is placed where the pedestrians are waiting rather than the far side of the crossing. This is a big advantage to the visually impaired.

Zebra – the one with black and white stripes and famous people!

Again, on approach look for and give way to pedestrians waiting to cross. When the pedestrian steps onto the crossing they have priority. Slow down and give them the confidence to cross. Even if it’s a “Long and winding road!”  If you are young, you probably won’t get the pun here: ask mum or dad!


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