More than 90% of British motorists are unable to identify different pedestrian crossings, new research has found.

The study, from Admiral Car Insurance, revealed the danger facing pedestrians after the latest Government figures show more than 120 people are killed or seriously injured on UK roads every week.

The insurer’s research highlights a lack of understanding of the different types of pedestrian crossings on our roads, with only 9% of those surveyed able to identify a puffin crossing correctly, and more than half (57%) unable to identify a pelican crossing.

UK drivers unable to identify pedestrian crossings

Despite their purpose to make navigating roads safer for pedestrians, Admiral’s research reveals both drivers are confused over the different crossing types on UK roads as 91% of people surveyed were unable to correctly identify a puffin crossing, while almost one in five (18%) couldn’t correctly identify a zebra crossing.

  • Puffin - 91%
  • Toucan - 89%
  • Pelican - 57%
  • Zebra - 18%

A Freedom of Information request to the DVLA uncovered how many drivers have been caught in contravention of pedestrian crossing offences (conviction codes PC10, PC20 or PC30), and can reveal that at the time of the response, 6,529 drivers had penalty points on their licence after failing to follow the rules at pedestrian crossings.

Adam Gavin, Head of Claims at Admiral Car Insurance, said: “Having any sort of car accident can be a frightening experience, but when a pedestrian is involved, the implications can be devastating. While the number of pedestrians sadly killed or seriously injured on our roads reduced during the pandemic, it’s concerning to see numbers creeping up again.

“What’s worrying about these findings is how little both drivers and pedestrians understand about the designated crossings and what the rules are to safely use them. We all have a responsibility to act with caution, and traffic collisions can be catastrophic, so we must do all we can to keep one another safe.

“Our research also confirms how the various pulls of day-to-day life can be all too distracting for drivers and pedestrians alike, with one of the most common reasons for near misses at crossings highlighted as pedestrians being distracted by their phone. This is why it’s so important to remain aware of your surroundings when out and about on the road.”

Can you identify different pedestrian crossings?


  1. A signal-controlled crossing operated by pedestrians. Push the control button to activate the traffic signals. When the red figure shows, do not cross. When a steady green figure shows, check the traffic has stopped then cross with care. When the green figure begins to flash you should not start to cross. If you have already started you should have time to finish crossing safely.
  2. Light-controlled crossings which allow cyclists and pedestrians to share crossing space and cross at the same time. They are push-button operated. Pedestrians and pedal cyclists will see the green signal together. Pedal cyclists are permitted to ride across.
  3. A signal-controlled crossing operated by pedestrians. The red and green figures are above the control box on your side of the road and there is no flashing green figure phase. Press the button and wait for the green figure to show.


  1. Pelican
  2. Toucan
  3. Puffin