And over a quarter have no idea how a zebra crossing should be used!


New data revealed by Admiral shows just how little knowledge both drivers and pedestrians in the UK have when it comes to road crossings.

An alarming four out of five (79%) drivers and pedestrians in the UK are not able to identify a pelican crossing and worryingly, these accounted for one third of all casualties in 2017 at pedestrian crossings.

Every year, around 5,500 pedestrians are killed or seriously injured in the UK, with on average one pedestrian killed and 15 seriously injured per day.

Admiral’s data showed that 79% of drivers and pedestrians in the UK could not identify a pelican crossing, whilst over a quarter had no idea what a zebra crossing was.

In addition, 92% couldn’t identify a toucan crossing, whilst 85% had no idea what the difference was between a toucan crossing and a puffin crossing.

New data finds four out of five people don't know what a pelican crossing is

More than a quarter of drivers and pedestrians have no idea how to use a zebra crossing properly! © Copyright Jaggery and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Many people are left confused as to what the green flashing figure on a pelican crossing is actually telling them – what this means is that pedestrians may continue crossing but may not start to cross.

Apparently, more than two in five think the flashing green figure means they don’t have much time to cross, whilst one in five think they have lots of time to cross the road.

At a pelican crossing, the pedestrian presses a button on the pole situated on their side, whilst there are two illuminated figures facing the pedestrian from the other side of the road – one red and one green. The red stationary person indicates that it’s not safe to cross whilst the green walking person indicates that it is safe to cross. There’s also a beeping sound which indicates to the pedestrian that it is safe to cross.

The insurance company also found that one third of pedestrians have had a near miss when using a crossing, with 19% confessing to not looking properly and one in 10 admitting to being distracted by their mobile phone.

Furthermore, 10% confessed to ignoring the light signals altogether, whereas four out of 10 put the blame onto the driver of the vehicle.

Almost a quarter of drivers in the UK say they’ve had a near miss with a pedestrian at a crossing, with 50% saying the pedestrian didn’t look before crossing, whilst one third claimed they hadn’t seen the pedestrian and 13% confessed to being distracted by their mobile phone.

“What’s worrying about these findings is how little both drivers and pedestrians understand about the designated crossings and what the rules are for safely using them,” said Sabine Williams, head of motors at Admiral.

A zebra crossing is distinguishable by its black and white stripes which run parallel across the tarmac on the road. A Belisha beacon is normally present on either side of the path which flash alternately. Pedestrians have right of way when they step onto the crossing.

A pelican crossing uses a traffic light system for both drivers and pedestrians. The pedestrian pushes a button and must wait for the traffic lights to stop the vehicles. Once the green walking man appears and the beeping sound is heard it is safe to cross but remember that a flashing green figure means pedestrians already crossing can continue but those approaching may not start to cross.

A toucan crossing allows both pedestrians and cyclists to cross safely – ‘toucan’ refers to ‘two-can’, meaning both pedestrians and cyclists can cross together. They are generally wider than a pelican crossing and feature a traffic light system similar to the pelican crossing but also show a bicycle figure next to the person figure in red and green.

A pedestrian user friendly intelligent crossing (puffin crossing) works similarly to the pelican crossing, however the signal lights are mounted on the same side of the road as the pedestrian using it rather than on the opposite side of the road.


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