Pedestrian Crossings

The most basic form of helping people to cross the road is a pedestrian crossing, which is usually in the form of an island in the centre of the road.

There are currently five types of formal pedestrian crossings used in the United Kingdom, these being Zebra, Pelican, Puffin, Toucan and Pegasus crossings.


Crossings are marked by black and white painted strips throughout the road and flashing amber beacons. The Highway Code states that vehicle drivers ‘must pave the way when someone has actually moved onto a crossing’. Pedestrians need to remain on the curbside for safety’s sake until approaching cars have actually stopped. Zebra crossings are less expensive to build than traffic signal controlled crossings although their use on roads where traffic speeds are higher than 35 miles per hour is not suggested.

Pelican (Pedestrian Light Controlled Crossing)

This is your green man, red man kind of crossing. Pedestrians push a button and when your traffic light is red, they get a green man to tell them that they can go. As you approach, you’ll see a traffic signal and there’ll be zigzag lines on the road.

You’ll understand it’s a pelican crossing because before the light switches to green, the amber light will flash. This suggests that if the crossing is clear and all the pedestrians have actually made it to the opposite, you can go.

However if there’s a person still making their way across, you have to wait until they have securely made it on the pavement prior to you setting off.

Puffin (Pedestrian User-Friendly Intelligent crossings)

Puffin crossings are slightly different to pelican crossings. They have sensing units on top of the lights and in the pavement so they understand when a person has actually finished crossing. In this way, the lights will only remain red as long as it takes for the person to cross and will go back to green when that person is through (and there is no one else wanting to cross).

Toucan (Two-Can Cross)

Besides the Toucan Crossing, other types of UK pedestrians crossings indicate that a bicyclist ought to dismount before crossing for their own safety and the safety of others. The Toucan Crossing design is much wider than other common crossings allowing cyclists to ride safely across by using entry lanes.

Throughout a driving test the examiner will not ask you any questions other than the Show Me Tell Me questions, it is still in your interest to attempt and establish what type of crossing it is you are approaching.

By developing this, it will assist you to possible dangers and risks in advance, which after all, is a major part of safe driving


A pegasus crossing, in some cases known as an equestrian crossing, is a push-button regulated crossing system that is typically discovered along bridleways and can be used by both pedestrians and horse riders. There are usually 2 sets of control panels; one for pedestrians (as on a puffin crossing) and one mounted two metres off the ground for horse riders to press. 

Identifying Pedestrian Crossings

As a careful driver, you will always be in tune to what is turning up on the road ahead of you. In this way, you will have the ability to recognise the signs that a pedestrian crossing is approaching – this could be in the form of a triangular warning sign, flashing yellow beacons or zigzag markings as you approach. Ensure you are always observing the road conditions and utilise the mirror, signal, manoeuvre routine.