Aims Down arrow icon to open accordion
  • To raise awareness of a road safety issue
Objectives Down arrow icon to open accordion
  • To learn about different types of road crossings: why they are named and how to use them
  • To understand that safe places to cross are vital for children to be able to walk safely in their community
You will need Down arrow icon to open accordion
  • You will need one copy of the Out and about activity sheet (also included in your action pack) for each pupil.

Explain to the class that walking to school is great. It’s a fun way to hang out with friends, and it keeps our bodies healthy to move around too.

Say that we want our journeys to school to be SAFE. When we walk in our community, we need safe places to cross the road.

There are lots of different places to cross the road. Click the headings below to learn more about some of the crossings the children in your class may see when they are out and about.

Zebra crossings Down arrow icon to open accordion
Family on zebra crossing shutterstock 709173 editorial use only

Zebra crossings have black and white stripes like a zebra and are marked with flashing amber lights on top of stripy poles. These are called ‘Belisha beacons’ and are named after Leslie Hore-Belisha who introduced them in 1934 when he was the government’s transport minister

Pelican or puffin crossings Down arrow icon to open accordion
Shutterstock 688002874 pelican crossing SMALL

Pelican crossings aren’t named after birds with huge beaks at all. Pelican is short for ‘pedestrian light indication’. The photo on the left shows a pelican crossing.

Puffin crossing is actually short for ‘pedestrian user-friendly intelligent crossing’. But that’s a bit of a mouthful, so it’s just Puffin for short.

Pegasus crossings Down arrow icon to open accordion
Shutterstock 1044815500 Pegasus crossing SMALL

Pegasus crossings are for horse riders and have two sets of buttons at different heights. One is at normal height for pedestrians and cyclists, the other is set higher up (2m above ground) so the horse rider doesn’t have to get off their horse to press the button. Pegasus was the name of the winged horse in Greek mythology.

Toucan crossings Down arrow icon to open accordion
Shutterstock 183387194 toucan crossing SMALL

Toucan crossings (two can cross) are for pedestrians and cyclists. They are normally found near parks and cycle lanes.

Tiger crossings Down arrow icon to open accordion
Children crossing road

Tiger crossings are for people riding bicycles. They are named after tigers because some of them have yellow stripes on the black road.

Other types of crossings Down arrow icon to open accordion

Other types of crossing include traffic islands/refuges, school crossing patrols (lollipop people), footbridges or underpasses.



Talk about the different types of crossing your children use when they are walking or wheeling in their community. Ask for ideas for how the different types of crossings got their names.

Talk about how to cross the road safely at each of these crossings.

At a zebra crossing you must stop, look and listen, and wait for cars travelling in both directions to stop before crossing the road. If there is an island in the middle, treat each half of the road as a separate crossing.

Puffin, pelican and toucan crossings have traffic lights and a button to press. A red crossing signal tells you it is not safe to cross, a green crossing signal means it is safe to cross but you should keep checking for traffic too. Some crossings also make a ‘beeping’ sound to tell blind and partially sighted people when it is safe to cross. There is also a small, rotating button underneath the push button. This spins when the green crossing signal shows.

For more advice on how to talk to children about crossing roads safely, go to


Stimulate further discussion by asking some of the following questions:

  1. Which types of crossing have you used?
  2. How did you get to school today?
  3. Is there a safe place to cross the road outside our school?
  4. Which type of crossings do you think we need more of near where you live/near our school/in our community?

Use the Out and about activity sheet to help children learn more about and record the different types of road crossing they see.