pedestrian crossing

UK Pedestrian Crossing Types: Zebra, Pelican, Puffin, Toucan & Equestrian

Zutobi
by Zutobi · Updated Mar 15, 2021

As stated in the Highway Code, there are many situations where you must give way to pedestrians, such as at pedestrian crossings. Pedestrians are vulnerable in a crash, and they are therefore protected by road rules.

In this lesson you’ll learn all about pedestrian crossing rules and the different types of crossings in the UK.

  • Pedestrian crossings
  • Zebra crossings
  • Pelican crossings
  • Puffin crossings
  • Toucan crossings
  • Equestrian crossings

What are Pedestrian Crossings?

Pedestrian crossings are safe zones that allow pedestrians to safely cross a roadway, they give high priority to pedestrians and come in different designs and functions. You should take extra care where the view of either side of the crossing is blocked by queuing traffic or incorrectly parked vehicles. Pedestrians may be crossing between stationary vehicles.

Furthermore, these rules apply at pedestrian crossings:

  • You MUST NOT park on a pedestrian crossing or in the area covered by the zig-zag lines
  • You MUST NOT overtake the moving vehicle nearest the crossing or the vehicle nearest the crossing which has stopped to give way to pedestrians
  • In queuing traffic, you should keep the crossing clear
  • Give way to anyone still crossing after the signal for vehicles has changed to green

What is a Zebra Crossing?

Zebra Crossings are very common in the UK, they are marked by black and white stripes and have two flashing beacons on either side of the road. There will be zig zag lines indicating that you are approaching a zebra crossing and that parking is prohibited.

PEDESTRIANS USING A ZEBRA CROSSING
Rule 19: Zebra crossings have flashing beacons

Zebra Crossing Rules

There are many rules at zebra crossings, here’s what to do when approaching one:

  • Look out for pedestrians waiting to cross and be ready to slow down or stop to let them cross
  • You MUST give way when a pedestrian has moved onto a crossing
  • Allow more time for stopping on wet or icy roads
  • Do not wave or use your horn to invite pedestrians across; this could be dangerous if another vehicle is approaching
  • Be aware of pedestrians approaching from the side of the crossing.
DOUBLE SEPARATE ZEBRA CROSSING WITH CENTRAL ISLAND
Rule 20: Zebra crossings with a central island are two separate crossings

What is a Pelican Crossing?

Pelican crossings are signal-controlled crossings where flashing amber follows the red ‘Stop’ light. Pedestrians will see a green man when the amber lights are flashing for drivers.  

PEDESTRIAN CROSSING PELICAN CROSSING WHEN THE AMBER LIGHT IS FLASHING
Rule 196: Allow pedestrians to cross when the amber light is flashing

Rules at Pelican Crossings

These 4 rules apply at pelican crossings:

  • You MUST stop when the red light shows
  • When the amber light is flashing, you MUST give way to any pedestrians on the crossing
  • If the amber light is flashing and there are no pedestrians on the crossing, you may proceed with caution
  • You MUST wait for pedestrians who are crossing from the other side of the island

Pelican crossings which go straight across the road are one crossing, even when there is a central island.

What is a Puffin Crossing?

Puffin crossings are similar to pelican crossings, so what’s the difference? Well, there is no flashing amber phase; the light sequence for traffic at puffin crossings is the same as at traffic lights and is automated.

Puffin crossings have sensors and will only stay red for as long as it takes for pedestrians to cross. If the signal-controlled crossing is not working, proceed with extreme caution. 

What is a Toucan Crossing?

Toucan crossings are specifically designed for cyclists and can be used by both cyclists and pedestrians. Cyclists don’t have to get off their bikes when crossing the road using a toucan crossing. They are the same as puffin crossings in the sense that they don’t have a flashing amber phase. 

TOUCAN CROSSINGS ARE ALSO USED BY CYCLISTS AND PEDESTRIANS
Rule 25: Toucan crossings can be used by both cyclists and pedestrians

What are Equestrian Crossings?

Equestrian crossings are specifically designed for horse riders, like toucan crossings are designed for cyclists. They allow horse riders to cross without having to get off their horse.

EQUESTRIAN CROSSINGS IN USE BY HORSES
Rule 27: Equestrian crossings are used by horse riders. There is often a parallel crossing
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