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Accidents at pedestrian crossings


Recent studies have shown that 16% of all road accidents involve pedestrians and of these, 20% of these occur on or near a pedestrian crossing of some sort. Anyone driving in an urban environment should always drive slowly and look out for people who may be about to cross the road in front of them, whether they are on a crossing or not.

The two most vulnerable groups are often children and the elderly or disabled. Children frequently have scant regard for their own safety when crossing roads. They may be talking, texting or just messing about near a busy road and may not be paying enough attention to the traffic when they cross. Crossings near schools should always be approached with particular caution, even if the crossing is fully controlled or patrolled , children will often try to push their luck.

The elderly or infirm may not have as good eyesight or hearing as the able bodied and have problems both seeing or hearing approaching traffic. They also may have difficulty walking and misjudge the amount of time it will take them to get across.

The disabled may also have problems getting across a busy road in a reasonable time. So it is up to the driver to look out for these vulnerable people and be prepared to stop in a hurry to avoid an accident.

Types of crossings

You will come across several different types of crossings when you are out and about in your car. Some are fully controlled by traffic lights and some offer no traffic control at all. The experienced driver soon learns to identify the different types and act accordingly, these types are described below.

Patrolled school crossings

These are crossings patrolled by a 'lollipop' person and only operate during the times when school children are either arriving or leaving their respective schools. There may sometimes be flashing amber warning lights ahead of the crossing area to warn drivers. Remember that you should always slow down safely to a stop if a lollipop person steps into the road.

Zebra Crossings

  • These have the classic black and white stripes (hence the 'zebra') on the road with orange flashing lights on either side

  • There is no actual traffic control, it is the drivers responsibility to slow down and stop if someone is either waiting to cross or has stepped onto the crossing


Puffin Crossings

  • They have sensors that sense when pedestrians are wanting to cross the road

  • They postpone the green light until the pedestrian has got to the other side of the road

  • There is the usual red and green traffic lights, but no amber

  • You should stop at the crossing if the lights are red, and wait for them to turn green before driving off


  • Pelican Crossings

  • Pelican crossings have the usual traffic light sequence of red, amber and green

  • You should stop at the crossing if the lights are amber, and wait for the lights to turn green before leaving


  • Toucan Crossings

  • These are used by cyclists as well as pedestrians. Cyclists can ride straight across the road

  • Like pelican crossings, they are aware of pedestrians waiting to cross the road

  • You should wait for the green light before driving off


  • Traffic Islands

  • These are usually put in places where a pedestrian crossing can't be built

  • Pedestrians cross one half of the road, with a place in the middle of the road to wait to cross the other half

  • Drivers have the right of way


  • Remember to approach all pedestrian crossings with care. Particularly in busy town centres, people will often try to push their luck in order to get across a busy road. Drive slowly in built-up areas and take extra care near school crossings.

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