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Pedestrian Crossings

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 25 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
Pedestrian Crossings Zebra Crossings

Driving at pedestrian crossings probably seems like a bit of a no-brainer. While most of the general rules are basically common-sense, you still need to be aware of them to be able to drive safely when you encounter them.

Zebra Crossings

You aren't obliged to stop at a zebra crossing unless a pedestrian steps onto the crossing. As you approach a zebra crossing though, you should slow down in case pedestrians are waiting to cross. It can be difficult to slow down quickly enough otherwise, particularly in wet or icy conditions. Look out for pedestrians on the opposite side of the road waiting to cross.

Pelican Crossings

Stop whenever the red light shows. If the amber light is showing, you must give way to pedestrians who are already on the crossing. If pedestrians are still crossing the road after the signal switches to green, you should let them finish crossing before you attempt to move off. Don't try to intimidate them by moving closer to the crossing, revving your engine or beeping your horn. As long as they started crossing before the signal changed, they have the right to continue crossing the road without being hassled to cross more quickly.

Some pelican crossings have a central island in the middle of the road. This is treated as just the one crossing, so you need to let pedestrians arriving at the central island cross the road fully before you move off.

If the central refuge has a system of railings which force pedestrians to zig-zag at the centre then it may be treated as a 2 stage crossing and when a flashing amber light shows pedestrians already on the crossing only have priority within the half of the crossing that they are already in.

Toucan/puffin Crossings

As with pelican crossings, when the red light shows, you must stop. However, there is no amber light on these crossings (unlike on pelican crossings).

School Crossings

For school crossings, there will usually be a lollipop person who will signal, show a 'Stop' sign and step into the road when you need to stop to let children cross the road. If you don't stop when signalled, you are liable for a £100 fine and penalty points.

Elderly Pedestrians

Elderly pedestrians will often need to be given more time to cross the road, especially if they have walking sticks or frames. If they are still crossing the road when the signal change, give them chance to finish crossing. If they have sight or hearing problems, they may not be fully aware of traffic approaching once the beeping sound that characterises some pedestrians crossings has finished (when the signals change).

No Parking

You should never park on a pedestrian crossing. This makes crossing the road extremely dangerous for pedestrians, as they would have to cross between parked cars or in other situations in which drivers won't necessarily be aware of them and aren't obliged to stop to let them cross.

Likewise, you shouldn't block the crossing while you're in a traffic jam. This is also highly dangerous for people wanting to cross the road.

Some of the most important safety aspects of driving on pedestrian crossings involves reducing your speed as you approach them so that you can easily give way to pedestrians who are already on the crossing, and being considerate towards pedestrians using the crossings, especially the elderly, who are particularly vulnerable.

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