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Full Guide to Pedestrian Crossings

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Full Guide to Pedestrian Crossings

There are five different types of pedestrian crossings in the UK. Regardless of which type of crossing a driver is approaching, it is important that the use the MSM rule. That’s the Mirror, Signal and Manoeuvre if you did not know. The five types of pedestrian crossings are Zebra, Pelican, Puffin, Toucan and the Pegasus. In this blog, the team at DTC Driving Test Services will explain the different types of pedestrian crossings.  The first thing that you will notice about these crossings is that they are all named after animals.

Zebra Crossing

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As a driver, it is most important that you are able to identify a crossing from the distance. A Zebra crossing can easily be identified as it will have the flashing yellow beacons on each side of the road. It will also have black and white stripes that formal path across the road. Pedestrians have right of way on Zebra Crossing. As you approach a pedestrian crossing, it is important that you scan, not just a zebra but the whole area within the zigzags. Although pedestrians should only cross on the black-and-white path, you should expect them to cross anywhere within the zigzag areas.  Check mirrors early on approach so you’re aware of exactly what is behind you as you may need to slow down or even stop to give way to pedestrians. Once a pedestrian has started to cross a zebra crossing,  you must give way and it until they are completely of the road.

The zigzags before and after a crossing a very important. A driver, you must not stop at any time on the zigzags. Furthermore, you should never overtake a moving vehicle as you are approaching the zigzags. Both of these offences are considered very serious which can land you a fine of £100 as well as penalty points on your driving licence.

Pelican Crossing

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Pelican crossings can be identified as from the distance they look like traffic lights. As a driver, you will notice they have a yellow box with a button. This button allows the pedestrian to change the light to the required red which will enable them to cross the road. The word Pelican is short for pedestrian light controlled crossing. These type of pedestrian crossings are often used in busy and heavily populated areas.

On approaching a pelican crossing, will also see white zigzags and often a metal railing on the side of the road. The purpose of the metal railing is to prevent pedestrians from crossing outside the designated pelican crossing. It is important that the driver understands the traffic light sequence on the pelican crossings.

Green Light

The traffic light is green, the driver may proceed as normal. However, you should scan the pavement for pedestrians. Some pedestrians, especially children, may press the button and walk away. If the button has been pressed, the light may soon change to amber.

Amber Lights

As a driver, if you see a steady amber light (Not flashing), this means that you must stop and give way to pedestrians. The amber signal is a stop signal just the same as a red light. However, there are a few exceptions when you may go through solid amber traffic light. The first is if you feel that it would be too dangerous for you to stop. An example of this could be that you are only one or two car lengths away from the traffic light when it starts to change. As you are closer than the stopping distance, you would not be able to stop safely before the pedestrian crossing. The other occasion when you may go through solid amber is if you are already over the line when the lights when it has started to change. After a solid amber light, the next colour is always a red.

Red Traffic Light

If the traffic light is on red, you must stop behind the white solid line. There are often traffic light cameras on many pelican crossings. Stopping over the white line could result in a fine and penalty points on your driving licence.  The red light at a pelican crossing is only usually read for about eight seconds. After this time, it will change to flashing amber.

Flashing Amber

The flashing light at a pelican crossing means that the driver must give way to any pedestrians that are still on the crossing itself. However, if the crossing is clear of pedestrians, the driver may proceed as normal. After flashing amber, the pelican light will always be green.

Puffin Crossing

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As you approach a puffin crossing, it will look exactly like a pelican crossing. However, it is smarter compared to the pelican crossing. The word puffin is short for Pedestrian User-Friendly Intelligent Crossing. The pedestrian would operate a puffin crossing exactly in the same way as a pelican crossing by pressing the button on the yellow box.

However, Puffin crossings are fitted with a sensor. Once the traffic light becomes red, the centre will keep the life red until the pedestrian is complete of the road and is in a safe place. Therefore, if a pedestrian started to dance while the traffic light was red, the light will remain red until they have stopped dancing and played the crossing.

As in all other types of pedestrian crossings, the drivers should approach a puffin crossing with caution as the light may change. Also to be noted, the sensor does not work if the pedestrian has crossed at a strange angle.

Toucan Crossing

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Toucan crossings are designed to be used by both pedestrians and cyclists side-by-side. They are the only crossings that can be used by cyclists. On all other crossings, cyclists are required to dismount. One way of remembering a Toucan crossing is to remember that Two-can use the crossing. Toucan crossings are wider than normal pedestrian crossings to enable them to accommodate pedestrians as well as the cyclists. Generally speaking, toucan crossings found near parks and cycle lanes.

Drivers need to be extra cautious at Toucan Crossings due to the extra hazard of cyclists. Cyclists can be very unpredictable and will often make a dash to avoid getting stuck at the light.

Pegasus / Equestrian Crossing

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A Pegasus crossing is also known as an Equestrian Crossing. Pegasus crossings are designed for horse riders is as well as pedestrians. They are similar to the toucan crossing but the least time of pedestrian crossings used in the UK. Pegasus crossings are often found near race courses or horse training areas. Drivers need to show extra caution Pegasus crossings as you may encounter horses. Horses can easily be startled by seven movements and noise. Therefore, the driver should avoid revving the engine.

Other Pedestrian Crossings

As well as the crossing is explained above, the driver may come across a school crossing. These type of crossings, driver see the school patrol officer who steps in the road with you to stop sign. It is a legal requirement that you stop for the school patrol officer to enable the children to cross. Please consider visiting the DTC Driving Test Services Youtube Channel for videos on free online driving lessons.