Types of pedestrian crossings to learn about

Types of pedestrian crossings, know all about them!

New research shows that 81 percent of drivers don’t know how to use a zebra crossing. Meanwhile, as many as one in four don’t know who’s permitted to use a toucan crossing.

This follows news that car drivers are substantially against proposed changes to the Highway Code. The proposed alterations would give vulnerable users like pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders priority over motorists. Less than a third (30 percent) of the drivers surveyed agreed with the proposals.

There are seven types of pedestrian crossings in the UK, including the new tiger crossing, currently being trialled in London. With lockdown restrictions currently in place, there has no doubt been a rise in the number of cyclists and pedestrians on the roads, meaning having good road safety knowledge is increasingly important.

During your driver training you should be aware of the rules for pedestrian, cyclists, and horse riders on road crossings to decrease the chance of being involved in an accident.

Here, we explain the difference between zebra, pelican, puffin, toucan, pegasus, officer-controlled and tiger crossings.

Zebra crossings

Types of pedestrian crossings - Zebra crossings

This is most common form of pedestrian crossing. Zebra crossings have flashing beacons on the pavement, black and white stripes on the road and zigzag lines on either side. These lines prohibit parking either side of the zebra crossing.

Traffic does not have to stop until someone has moved onto the crossing. When there is an island in the middle of a zebra crossing, pedestrians must wait on the island before crossing the second half of the road. It is counted as a second pedestrian crossing.

Pelican crossing

These are signal-controlled crossings operated by pedestrians. Pushing the button will activate the traffic signals, but pedestrians should not cross when the red figure is illuminated. When a steady green figure shows, drivers will be shown a red light telling them to stop. If the green figure begins to flash, pedestrians should not start to cross.

Drivers must not move until the pelican crossing is free of pedestrians. The Uswitch survey found that 71 percent of people believe pelican crossings can be used by cyclists. This isn’t the case – only pedestrians are permitted to use pelican crossings.

Puffin crossing

Types of pedestrian crossings - Puffin crossings

Puffin crossings differ from pelican crossings as the red and green figures are above the control box on the side of the road. There is no flashing green figure phase. Simply press the button and wait for the green figure to show.

These are smart versions of the older pelican crossings. They use sensors to indicate when the crossing is clear to release the traffic. Only one in three people who took part in the survey were able to identify a puffin crossing.

Toucan crossing

Toucan crossings work in the same way as pelican crossings, with the key difference being that they can be used by pedestrians and cyclists. They are push-button operated. Drivers will see a red light when the pedestrians and cyclists are shown a green light to cross.

Pegasus crossing

Pegasus crossings, also known as equestrian crossings, are for horse riders. They feature pavement barriers, wide crossing spaces, plus horse and rider figures in the light panels. The button is positioned higher for ease of use by the horse riders. Traffic is controlled via standard traffic lights.

Types of pedestrian crossings - Pegasus crossings

Authorised person crossings

These are crossings controlled by an authorised person, such as a school warden or police offer. They will signal the traffic to stop, at which point the pedestrians can cross in front of the authorised person.

Tiger crossings

A Tiger crossing combines a pedestrian zebra crossing with a crossing for cyclists. They are called tiger crossings because early examples featured yellow stripes on black tarmac.

The first tiger crossing was installed was in London, but the concept is common in the Netherlands. Unlike toucan crossings, they feature dedicated lanes for pedestrians and cyclists. This makes them ideal for use on cycle lanes.

In all cases, pedestrians and cyclists must check that the traffic has stopped before the start to cross the road. Always cross between the studs or over the zebra markings, and do not loiter on the pedestrian crossing.

Read the official guidance in the Highway Code