Pelican crossings are traffic light controlled and will only change if someone presses the button, which is located on the side of the traffic light pole. Where as, normal traffic lights will change on an automatic sequence when the button is pressed. The Pelican crossing traffic lights will change to allow Pedestrians to cross safely. The name derives from PEdestrian LIght CONtrolled with the o changed in reference to the bird.
Sequence of Lights for a Pelican crossing
The sequence of lights for a pelican crossing would be as follows: Red, Flashing Amber, and Green. Steady Amber, Red. All of the different colored lights appear on own. The flashing amber light keeps the traffic flowing. If the crossing is clear you may proceed. However, if there are pedestrians still on the crossing, you must still give way to them. Unlike traffic light this would have the following sequence... Red, Red and Steady Amber, Green, Steady Amber, Red.
Approaching a Pelican Crossing
Let's imagine we're approaching a pelican crossing and the lights go through their sequence from Green up to Red. Green, Steady amber, Red. Use your MSM routine in good time and slow down to let the pedestrians cross safely to the other side of the road. Remember not to "rev" your engine while you wait for them to cross, as this could cause the pedestrians to hurry across the road. If the crossing is clear and the flashing amber light appears, you may proceed. However, ensure that the pedestrian doesn't change their mind and double back across the crossing! When approaching a pelican crossing and the Pelican has just changed from Red to the flashing amber, keep checking to see that the crossing is clear before committing your self to driving through the crossing. Pedestrians such as the young, elderly or the infirm may take longer to cross the road and may still be on the crossing even when the lights have changed to Green. Like the Zebra Crossing, the Pelican Crossing has two variations the straight Crossing and the Staggered Crossing.
The Straight Crossing
As we can see in the diagram, the crossing goes straight across the road and has no central island. This type of crossing should be seen as one crossing, unlike a Zebra crossing which would be classed as two separate crossings when it has a central island.
The Staggered Crossing
This type of Pelican crossing incorporates a central island, but either side of the crossing are not in line. This type of Pelican Crossing would be classed as being two separate crossings as the lights on either side of the road will work independently of each other.
Pelican crossings will only change if someone has pressed the button. However, be careful when approaching a Pelican crossing as there maybe no one around as you approach the crossing but someone may have pressed the button and crossed before the lights have changed. Never trust a Green light, as they have a habit of changing color when you least expect it! Always approach Green traffic lights with caution and never try to beat the lights by accelerating towards them.
The Puffin crossing is another variation on the Toucan crossing. In that it incorporates an electronic scanner to monitor the crossing. Puffin stands for Pedestrian User Friendly Intelligent crossing.
The electronic scanner scans the crossing to see if anyone is standing next to or is already on the crossing. This facility helps to keep the flow of traffic moving by keeping the lights on Green, if someone presses the button and either walks away or crosses the road before the lights have changed to Red. On the other hand if the pedestrians cross the road fairly quickly, the lights will change to Green and again this should minimize the disruption to the flow of traffic. Whereas a Pelican crossing has a set Red light sequence.
By the same token, the scanner will keep the lights on Red as long as someone is still crossing the road. This is a useful facility for certain types of pedestrians such as the elderly, the young and the infirm, who may need more time to cross the road. Because the Puffin has this functionality, there is no flashing amber in the sequence of lights.
Zig Zag Lines
Zig zag lines are placed before and after the crossing to protect the crossing. See the Zebra crossing tutorial for the rules about Zig Zag lines.
Zig zag lines are used on the following crossings...
- Zebra crossings
- Toucan crossings
- Pelican crossings
It's also a good idea not to park just before or just after the crossing, as this could obscure the view of both drivers and pedestrians. The important point to remember when approaching any pedestrian crossing is to approach caution and scan either side of the crossing for pedestrians who are either walking up to or are waiting at the side of the road to use the crossing. Your speed on the approach to the crossing should be such that you can pull up safely and under full control.
Never "rev" your engine when pedestrians are on the crossing, as this could frighten them and cause the pedestrians to hurry across the road.
The Toucan crossing is a crossing that allows pedestrians and cyclists to use the crossing at the same time.
If a cyclist wishes to use any other type of crossing, for example, Zebra, Pelican or Puffin, they should dismount from their bicycle and then use the crossing. However, on a Toucan crossing, a cyclist can ride across the crossing as pedestrians are walking to the other side of the road. "Tou-can cross" is one way of remembering what a Toucan crossing is for. Pedestrians and cyclists can use the crossing together. Drivers approaching a Toucan crossing is made aware of the crossing because of its traffic lights and usually zig-zag road markings ( zig-zag marking are not always present).As with all of the traffic light controlled crossings, the lights are controlled by the push buttons on the side of the traffic light pole. However, for this type of crossing there is no flashing amber light.
Let's suppose someone presses the button and then walks away without using the crossing, the scanner would detect that no one is standing next to the crossing and therefore will keep the traffic lights on Green and this helps to keep the traffic flowing.
Another advantage of using the electronic scanner is that unlike a Pelican crossing, the Toucan crossing will keep the lights on Red if someone is still on the crossing, which gives the pedestrian plenty of time to cross the road without the worry of the lights suddenly changing. This is especially useful to the elderly, the young and the infirm. Whereas, a pelican crossing has a set time for the lights to stay on Red. Once the time limit is up the traffic lights will work their way down to Green.