In this article
A toucan crossing is a traffic light controlled pedestrian crossing, that allows both pedestrians and cyclists to cross the road at the same time. The crossing is very similar in design and functionality to the pelican crossing, the one big difference between the two is that there is no flashing amber stage in the crossing’s light sequence and a green man figure and bicycle is displayed when the road is safe to cross. It operates in exactly the same way as a pelican crossing does, with pedestrians or cyclists pushing a button in the control box and the lights changing based on a timer system. Once a set period of time has elapsed, the lights will automatically change colour irrespective of who is at or on the crossing. Toucan crossings are much wider than both pelican and puffin crossings to accommodate both pedestrians and cyclists, they are normally around 4 metres in width.
Why do we have toucan crossings?
The toucan crossing is an upgrade on the pelican and zebra crossings. The toucan crossing is controlled by lights and they allow cyclists to cross the road without having to dismount. The crossing allows cyclists to cross busy roads in a safe manner, reducing the number of accidents involving cyclists on the road. The crossing also demonstrates that UK roads are cycle friendly.
Where do you find toucan crossings?
This type of crossing is normally found on junctions which have been recently updated and redesigned to include dedicated cycle lanes. If the junction is large and there are a number of roads linking into it, you are likely to find a toucan crossing leading onto a cycle lane, encouraging cyclists to use the road more often. You can also find these crossing on the entrance and exit to large parks as these are common cycle routes in many urban areas.
How should you approach a toucan crossing
To pass your driving test you need to demonstrate that you are capable of driving safely and responsibly on all pedestrian crossings. During your driving lessons, you will be taught how to approach this type of crossing. You’ll learn how to use the mirror signal manoeuvre routine when dealing with this crossing and this should reduce the chances of your failing your driving test due to a mistake on the crossing
Other driving test tips include;
Spotting the crossing in good time makes a big difference to the way you deal with it. If you spot the crossing early enough you can slow down without slamming the brakes, which reduces the chances of you crossing the stop line, which would result in you failing your driving test.
Reducing your speed
When approaching always drive at a slower pace as the lights are liable to change, look out for pedestrians preparing to cross the road and be mindful that some pedestrians will attempt to cross the road just as the lights are about to change.
Use the POM routine.
If you’ve been waiting at the crossing for some time, use the POM routine to get yourself ready to move off again. Prepare the vehicle by getting into gear. find your biting point and keep scanning either side of the crossing for any pedestrians running into the road at the last minute.
Do toucan crossings automatically detect pedestrians and cyclists?
Some toucan crossings are able to automatically detect the presence of cyclists as they have censors in the cycle tracks on approach to the crossing. These sensors make a call to the crossing which sets off the timer in the same way it would if a pedestrian or cyclist pressed the button in the control box. Most toucan crossings do not have sensors on the crossing, therefore after a predetermined amount of time, the lights change automatically whether the crossing is free from pedestrians and cyclists or not.
Should there be more toucan crossings?
If the government is serious about promoting cycling and turning the UK into a cycle-friendly country, there should be more toucan crossings used on the road. With new cycle superhighways being planned and more major roads having a dedicated cycle lane, the old-style pelican crossings should be phased out and converted into toucan crossings on roads that are heavily used by cyclists. The cost of converting a pelican crossing into a toucan crossing can be quite high due to the different techniques used in each, however, if the crossing is used by a large number of pedestrians and cyclists, the benefits of doing so tend to be worth the expenditure. If a particular road needs a new crossing and a large number of cyclists use the road, the likelihood is that a toucan crossing will be installed, as opposed to either a pelican or a puffin crossing.