There are 5 types of pedestrian crossing currently in use. You can use this as a guide on how to identify them.
The Zebra crossing is the easiest one to identify because it has black and white stripes of equal width on the road surface. It also has the flashing amber ‘Belisha Beacons’ on either side of the road.
Zebra crossings are marked by black and white painted strips across the road and flashing amber globes called ‘Belisha beacons’.
The highway code says that when a pedestrian moves onto the zebra crossing, approaching drivers MUST stop and should only start again once all of the pedestrians have left the crossing. However, pedestrians should remain on the kerbside for safety’s sake until approaching vehicles have stopped.
The Pelican pedestrian crossing is the most easily recognizable pedestrian crossing of all. It was the first pedestrian crossing to be controlled by traffic lights.
When a pedestrian walks up to a pelican crossing and presses the button they have to wait for the green man to show before crossing the road. There is a continuous bleeping sound at a pelican type pedestrian crossing controlled by traffic lights for the benefit of the blind or partially sighted.
The Pelican crossing is the only pedestrian crossing to contain a flashing amber light in its phase. The amber light that the drivers see at the pelican crossings flashes in time to the flashing of the green man that the pedestrian sees while crossings.
The pedestrians may still start crossing at a pelican type pedestrian crossing at any time while the green man is flashing. Motorists should be aware that if the pelican type of pedestrian crossing is completely clear but there is a pedestrian about to use the crossing then the pedestrian has full priority.
Once upon the pedestrian crossing the pedestrian has priority until they have completely cleared the pedestrian crossing.
Pelican crossings have an audible warning that continues for as long as the pedestrian has priority to enter the pedestrian crossing.
The Puffin crossing looks the same as the Pelican crossing from the drivers perspective. The only difference to their appearance is the two infa-red guns usually on top of the lights which point down towards the pedestrians crossing.
The puffin pedestrian crossing has two features which are designed to be particularly pedestrian friendly whilst crossing.
1) The red and green lights which tell the pedestrians when they are clear to cross are on the pedestrian side of the crossing, just above the button that they pressed, rather than higher up the pole. This is much easier for pedestrians at puffin crossings who have sight related problems or who may be in wheelchairs.
2) The red light at Puffin crossings is intended not to change to green while there is a pedestrian still upon the puffin crossing. This is facilitated by the use of sensors. Usually located on the top of the poles that hold the lights at the side of the puffin crossing.
We have all seen an elderly pedestrian crossing the road with shopping bags get half way across a pelican style pedestrian crossing before the lights change to green. This puffin crossing system was invented for just such occasions. The radar passes the information to the light control box as to whether or not there is any movement on the puffin crossing and the light control box reacts accordingly. If there is still movement on the puffin crossing then the lights will stay at red until the slow pedestrian has finished crossing the road.
Puffin crossings also have an audible warning for pedestrians who wish to use the crossing.
When using other types of pedestrian crossings, as you know, cyclists are supposed to dismount from their cycles when they use a pedestrian crossing. If there is a cycle path that approaches the pedestrian crossing from one side and continues on the other side then it would be more convenient for the cyclists to remain mounted at the pedestrian crossing.
Commonly called the ‘two can cross’ pedestrian crossing the toucan style of crossing allows cyclists to use the crossing at the same time as pedestrians without the need for them to dismount from their cycles.
There are two lights from the pedestrian/cyclist point of view at the toucan crossing. A green man to time the pedestrians crossing and a green cycle to time the cyclists crossing. They will both turn green at the same time but the cycle will remain on green for longer because a cyclist can use the crossing faster than a pedestrian.
Toucan crossings may also have an audible warning to help both pedestrians and cyclists.
Pegasus style pedestrian crossings will only be found in areas where plenty of horse riders are expected to be crossing the road.
The Pegasus style of pedestrian crossing has an extra set of buttons two metres off the ground so that the riders have no need to dismount in order to activate the crossing. In reference to the horses the vehicles will be made to stop farther away from a Pegasus style pedestrian crossing than they would from a normal pedestrian crossing.
The lights that are displayed at a Pegasus crossing are different to normal pedestrian crossings as well. The green and red people have been replaced with green and red horses.
If the crossing is to be used by pedestrians and cyclists too, then a parallel toucan crossing is placed next to the Pegasus crossing.