Pedestrian Crossings

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People on foot have certain rights of way at pedestrian crossings, but are safe only if drivers stick to the rules and do the right things.

Some rules and advice apply to all types of crossing.


You must not park:

  • - on the crossing, this blocks the way for pedestrians.
  • - within the zigzag lines;

(This obstructs both the pedestrian's view of approaching vehicles and the approaching driver's view of the crossing.)


You must not overtake:

  • - the moving motor vehicle nearest the crossing.
  • - the leading vehicle which has stopped to give way to a pedestrian.
  • - even if there are no zigzag lines, never overtake just before a crossing.

Give yourself more time to stop if the road is wet or icy.

Keep the crossing clear when queuing in traffic.

Approaching Crossings

Stop before the crossing if you can see that you won't be able to clear it.

Take extra care where the view of the crossing is blocked by queuing traffic.

Pedestrians may be crossing between these vehicles, incorrectly thinking they have stopped to allow pedestrians to cross.

Always allow pedestrians plenty of time to cross.(Especially if they are elderly or disabled, and do not harass them by revving your engine or edging forward.

Watch out for pedestrians who try to rush across at the last minute.


You should stop if you can do so safely, especially:

  • - if anyone is waiting on the pavement with a pram or pushchair
  • - if children or the elderly are hesitating to cross because of heavy traffic.

You must give way to anyone who:

  • - is already crossing
  • - has stepped onto the crossing.

Types of Crossing

There are various types of pedestrian crossings:

Zebra Crossings

Are identified by flashing Belisha Beacons on either side of the road and black and white stripes on the crossing. They also have white zigzag markings on both sides of the crossing and a give way line about a yard from the crossing, which marks the place for drivers to stop when necessary.

Where pedestrians are waiting on the pavement at a zebra crossing and obviously want to cross, slow down and stop to let them cross.

Do not wave people across. There could be another vehicle coming in the other direction and you can't be sure what other drivers might do.

Some zebra crossings are divided by a central island. Each half is a separate crossing.

Pelican Crossings

Are light-controlled crossings where the pedestrian uses push-button controls to control the traffic. The crossing area is shown by studs and a stop line marks the place for drivers to stop when necessary.

These crossings have no red-and-amber before the green. Instead they have a flashing amber light which means you must give way to pedestrians already on the crossing but, if it is clear, you can go on.

Pelican crossings may be:

a pelican crossing which goes straight across the road is one crossing, even if there is a central refuge. You must wait for people coming from the other side of the refuge.
if the crossings on each side of the central refuge are not in line, the crossings are separate.

Puffin Crossings

Are user-friendly intelligent crossings where electronic sensors automatically detect when pedestrians are on the crossing. These reduce unnecessary delays in traffic flow.

These sensors delay the green light until the pedestrians have reached a position of safety. If the pedestrians cross quickly, the pedestrian phase is shortened. If the pedestrians have crossed the road before the phase starts, it will automatically be cancelled.

Because the signals are controlled in this way, there is no flashing amber in the sequence.

Toucan Crossings

Are shared by pedestrians and cyclists. Cyclists are permitted to cycle across. The signals are push-button operated and there is no flashing amber phase.

School Crossing Patrols

Watch out for the patrols and obey their signals.

At particularly dangerous locations, two amber lights flashing alternatively give advance warning of the crossing point. Do not confuse these lights with the new 20mph speed restriction signs at schools, which also have flashing amber lights.

DO NOT overtake when you are approaching school crossings and always keep your speed down so you are ready to slow down or stop, if necessary.

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