UK pedestrian crossings explained: Zebra, Puffin, Pelican, Toucan and how to use them

There are various different types of crossing in the UK; we explain pedestrian crossing rules for each type, and how to identify them all

There are several types of pedestrian crossings in the UK. Many of the crossings are named after animals, and pedestrians and motorists interact with each one differently. Zebra crossing rules, for example, are very different from puffin crossing rules and a little bit of swotting up on the key differences might help you stay a little bit safer when crossing the road.

Perhaps because of this wide variety of UK pedestrian crossings, many people are unable to tell different types of crossing apart. Recent research, for example, indicates 79 per cent of drivers and pedestrians can’t identify a pelican crossing, while over a quarter don’t even know what a zebra crossing looks like.

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An average of one pedestrian is killed and 15 are seriously injured on the UK’s roads every day. So, whether you’re learning to drive or an experienced motorist, it’s a good idea to refresh your knowledge of what each type of pedestrian crossing looks like, and what the rules are for each kind.

How to cross the road

Using a pedestrian crossing is generally safer than taking your chances crossing the road where there isn’t one. Whether you’re on a crossing or not, however, there are basic safety precautions that you should take beyond the classic; Stop, Look and Listen advice that’s drummed into us as children.

Remove any headphones that you’re wearing, the ‘listen’ part of the Stop, Look and Listen mantra refers to listening out for traffic, not Stormzy’s new single.

Never assume that you can be seen by approaching vehicles. Be sure that cars approaching a crossing are going to stop before you start to cross. Making eye contact with the driver is a good way of doing this. If there is no pedestrian crossing, find a place to cross away from parked cars, corners and junctions where you can be seen clearly by traffic approaching from all directions. Wear bright clothing is crossing the road at night or in poor visibility.

Drivers are required to give way to pedestrians crossing a road that they are turning into but don’t take this for granted. Make sure the driver has seen you and is going to stop before you begin to cross.

Click the links below or at the top right of this page to get the full details on each UK pedestrian crossing type…

6 types of pedestrian crossing explained

  • • Zebra crossing
  • • Pelican crossing
  • • Puffin crossing
  • • Toucan crossing
  • • Pegasus crossing
  • • Staggered crossing


Next: Zebra crossing

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