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Crossing the Road Safely in the UK

This section explains safe road crossing instructions for pedestrians and for children. Always use the rules of the Green Cross Code in the United Kingdom.

HOW TO CROSS THE ROAD: All responsible parents and childminders have a role of teaching road safety for children.

All pedestrians should use the Green Cross Code when crossing the road. But, adults should also go with small children when they cross a road.

It takes kids some time to understand the importance of road safety. They must learn how to determine the speed and distance of moving vehicles on the road.

Using The Green Cross Code Safely

Rule 7: The first step is finding a safe place to cross. Look for a space where you can reach the pathway on the other side of the road. As a rule, zebra, pelican, toucan, and puffin crossings, footbridges, controlled crossings (e.g. at schools), and subways tend to be safer places to cross.

But, using pedestrian crossings is not always possible. Find an area where you can see in all directions if they are not available. Check to make sure you can reach the other side in a direct route (not diagonal). Crossing the road between parked cars is particularly dangerous for small children and for vulnerable pedestrians.

Stop at the kerbside. Step back from the road if there is no pavement. Check for any approaching or oncoming traffic. Using the ‘Green Cross Code‘ look all around and listen for traffic. Often, you can hear moving traffic before you can see the vehicles.

Allow any oncoming traffic to pass and then look and listen once more until there is a pause in the traffic. Be sure there is enough time to cross and be aware of the speed of any distant vehicles.

Safely cross the road without delay but do not run. Continue to look and listen for traffic as you cross. Check once more for cyclists or motorcyclists passing between traffic lanes.

Crossing at a Junction

Rule 8: Use extra caution if you cross at a road junction. Rule 70 covers this situation. It states that pedestrians have priority if they have already started crossing and traffic wants to turn into the road.

Pedestrian Safety Barriers UK

Rule 9: There are strict rules for pedestrians and safety barriers. You should not climb over a safety barrier to cross the road. Instead, cross where there is a gap.

One-way Streets

Rule 11: Determine in which direction the traffic is moving in a one-way street. Make sure you can completely cross uninterrupted. Be aware that some bus or cycle lanes may function in a different direction to one-way traffic.

Using Raised or Tactile Paving

Rule 10: Pedestrians can feel raised surfaces underfoot. Thus, they provide a warning and some guidance for blind or partially sighted people.

As a rule, tactile paving surfaces have a series of raised studs. They get used at some crossing points where there is a dropped kerb. Another type is a series of rounded raised bars. This type gets used at level crossings and other hazardous areas (e.g. the top and bottom of steps).

Cycle Routes

Rule 13: Cycle tracks often run alongside the footpath or pavement. As a rule, they use a segregating feature to separate people on foot from cyclists. Some segregated routes also use short lengths of tactile paving. This helps visually impaired pedestrians stay on the correct side.

The pedestrian side usually has a series of flat-topped bars. They run across the direction of travel – in a ladder pattern. The side for cyclists has the same bars. But they orient in the direction of travel – in a tramline pattern.

Note: Some routes that share tracks for pedestrians and cyclists do not have a segregation.

Crossing between Parked Vehicles

Rule 14: Crossing between parked cars and large vehicles is particularly hazardous. Always use use extra caution before crossing close to parked cars, but avoid it wherever possible. Use the roadside edge of the car vehicle as you would at the kerbside.

Check for traffic before you enter the road. Stationary vehicles with idling engines may start sudden reversing or forward maneuvers.

Rule 15: Be aware of vehicles making a warning sound or with white reverse lights showing. You should never cross behind a vehicle if it is reversing.

Rule 16: The Road Traffic Act 1988 section 26 states you MUST NOT get onto or hold onto a moving vehicle.

Bus Lanes

Rule 12: Use extra caution when crossing bus lanes and cycle lanes. The traffic can move faster in other lanes. It may even move against the usual flow of traffic.

Crossing the Road at Night

Rule 17: Take extra care when you cross the road at night. Wearing something reflective will make it easier for road traffic to see you. Try to cross the road near to a street light if no pedestrian crossing is nearby.

A Guide for Pedestrians Crossing the Road in the United Kingdom