Cross the Road (UK)

You probably cross the road several times a day as you travel to the places you need to go. While it may be a normal part of your day, crossing the street can also be very dangerous, as cars travel very fast. Fortunately, you can stay safe while you’re on the road, whether you’re walking, riding a bike, riding a motorcycle, or driving a car. An important document for anyone using the road in the UK, including pedestrians, is the Highway Code[1]. Rules 7 to 17 cover crossing the road as a pedestrian.


Using Informal Crossings

  1. Find a suitable place to cross. If no formal crossing is available, you should cross the road wherever it is safest to do so and when you are sure no cars are coming. Avoid crossing between parked cars, on a blind bend or close to the brow of a hill. If there is a dropped kerb or tactile paving on the pavement, this may indicate a safe place to cross. Take the shortest route across the road as possible; don't walk diagonally.[2]
  2. Make sure the roadway is clear. Use the 'Green Cross Code'. Stand near the edge of the curb so you can see oncoming traffic, but not too close to traffic. Look all around and listen out for traffic - it could come from any direction. If you are at a junction, there may be traffic turning in or out of the side road, who may forget to indicate. On one-way roads, check which way traffic is moving. Cyclists may be permitted to use the road in the opposite direction. If there cars approaching, let them go first. It is safer to wait for a gap.
  3. Cross the road. When the road is clear or there is a suitable gap, go straight across the road. Continue to look and listen for traffic. Do not run and do not cross the road diagonally.

Using Zebra Crossings

  1. Identify a zebra crossing. A zebra crossing has white boxed painted across the road, with dotted and zig zag lines on either side of the crossing. There will be at least two poles on the crossing which will have flashing yellow lights.
  2. Check for traffic. Traffic does not have to give way to pedestrians until they are on the crossing. Look both ways and make sure traffic is stopped before crossing.
  3. Cross the road. When traffic has stopped, cross the road, staying within the studs or white squares along the sides of the crossing. Cross as quickly as you can, but do not run.
  4. Stop on any islands. If there is an island in the middle of the crossing, this means it is two separate crossings, so you should stop on the island to make sure cars have stopped for the second crossing as well.

Using Puffin Crossings

  1. Identify a puffin crossing. A puffin crossing is a pedestrian crossing with traffic lights. It has white squares or studs painted across the road, with dotted and zig zag lines on either side of the crossing.
  2. Press the call button. A call button will be located on the traffic light pole. Press the button and wait for the green man to show on the traffic signals. The signal may be nearside (located next to the call button) or farside (located on the other side of the road).
  3. Cross the road. When the green man shows, make sure that cars have stopped and then begin to cross the road. Do not begin to cross the road if the green man is not showing, but if you are already crossing, continue to cross. Some crossings may have a countdown timer to show how long the green man has left showing.