Basic Routines: Pedestrian Crossings

There are two types of pedestrian crossing: signal operated and non-signal operated.

Non-Signal operated pedestrian crossings

Lollipop person If you are driving around school times watch out for lollipop people. By law you MUST stop if a lollipop person holds their lollipop stick out and tells you to stop. lollipop
Zebra crossing You can recognise a zebra crossing by its black and white stripy lines and flashing yellow beacons. The person using the zebra crossing only has priority once they have stepped out on to the crossing and if the person is standing on the pavement away from the crossing you do not have to stop. However, zebra crossings can be extremely dangerous as people can just step out on to the crossing with no warning. Some zebra crossings can also be difficult to spot if the road markings have faded or the bulbs on the flashing beacons have blown so you need to take extra care on approaching one. As a final note if you have stopped for a pedestrian don´t encourage them to cross, a vehicle travelling from the opposite direction may not have seen them crossing and an accident could occur. zebra-crossing

Signal operated pedestrian crossings

To improve road safety for pedestrians signal operated crossings were introduced and the number of non-signal operated crossings was reduced.

Approaching a pedestrian crossing

With exception to the lollipop person, all pedestrian crossings are easily identifiable with zig-zag lines on approach. This zig-zag line area shall be referred to as the zone of the crossing. Within the zone of the crossing the Highway Code states some rules that you MUST abide to:

  1. You MUST not park on or within the zone of the pedestrian crossing
  2. You MUST not overtake within the zone of the pedestrian crossing

It is also advised to not rev your car engine whilst a pedestrian is using the crossing or sound your horn / wave at the pedestrian to encourage them to cross.There are two systems you need to follow in order to approach a pedestrian crossing safely: LADA and the MSM routine.


L Look In good time, look as far down the road as you can see to spot any pedestrian crossings that are coming up ahead.
A Assess Assess the situation on approach, are there any pedestrians in the area that may be about to use the pedestrian crossing?
D Decide Make a decision based on your assessment as to whether you will have to stop or not.
A Act Act on that decision by using the MSM routine
M Mirrors Check your mirrors to see who is behind you
S Signal The brake light will act as a signal to anyone behind you that you intend to slow down or stop. You could further back this up with an arm signal.
M Manoeuvre If the crossing is clear then continue to proceed through the crossing at a safe speed, bearing in mind that at a signal operated crossing someone may have pressed the ´wait´ button and then left the area. However, if you do have to stop at the crossing then begin the procedure to slow down and ensure that you stop behind the stop line of the crossing. Apply your handbrake and when it is safe to proceed prepare the car, take effective all round observations and move off.

Have a go at this short quiz on pedestrian crossings.

1. Which of the following is not a type of pedestrian crossing?
2. When MUST you give way at a zebra crossing? (mark all that apply)?
When the pedestrian is standing on the pavement with a pram or pushchair
When the pedestrian is already on the pedestrian crossing
When the pedestrian has stepped on to the pedestrian crossing
During rush hour periods
3. What is the difference between a pelican crossing and a puffin crossing?
The pelican crossing has a flashing amber and the puffin crossing does not
The puffin crossing has a flashing amber and the pelican crossing does not
Cyclists can cycle across a puffin crossing
Pelican crossings have traffic lights and puffin crossings do not
4. Cyclists can cycle across which crossing?
5. Which of the following MUST you NOT do at a pedestrian crossing? (mark all that apply)
Blow your nose
6. The flashing amber signal on a pedestrian crossing means?
That you must wait until the green light shows to proceed
That you can proceed if the pedestrian has finished crossing
That there is a problem with the traffic lights
That you must get ready to stop
7. If a zebra crossing has a central refuge it is...? (mark all that apply)
Two separate pedestrian crossings even if the crossings on either side of the central
      refuge are in a straight line
Not a real pedestrian crossing
Two separate pedestrian crossings if each crossing on each side of the central refuge
      are not in line (staggered)
One pedestrian crossing
8. Which routine do we use on approach to all pedestrian crossings?
9. Why should you not wave a pedestrian across the road?
They might not wave back
They may not be able to see you
There may be a car coming from the opposite direction that has not seen them
They don´t want to be rushed
10. You are driving past a school at school finishing time what should you do? (mark all that apply)
Always keep your speed down so that you are ready to slow down or stop if necessary
Watch out for school crossing patrols and obey their signals
Speed up to get out of the school zone quickly
Look out for children crossing between parked cars and be ready to slow down or stop