We should all be able to feel safe when crossing the road at a pedestrian crossing, but in reality accidents do happen: drivers can fail to stop because they were distracted, did not see the crossing, or were simply driving too fast – and you could get hurt as a result.

If you are hit by a car or injured when using a pedestrian crossing, you may be entitled to compensation. Therese Classon, a Partner in the Personal Injury team at WBW Solicitors in Newton Abbot, explains how to establish who was responsible for the accident.

Types of pedestrian crossing

Pedestrian crossings are designed to provide safe places for pedestrians to cross the road by giving them priority over other road users. There are several different types of pedestrian crossings in England and Wales, and each one operates slightly differently. Pedestrians and drivers are required to abide by the highway code and respond appropriately to each type of crossing.

The main types of pedestrian crossings are: zebra, pelican, puffin, toucan and pegasus.

Zebra crossings are paths across the road, defined by black and white stripes and flashing yellow beacons at either side of the road. They require drivers to always stop and give way to pedestrians.

Pelican crossings require pedestrians to push a button to signal that they want to cross the road. Once pressed, the driver traffic lights will eventually turn red, the pedestrian lights on the opposite side of the road will turn green, and a sound signifies it is safe for pedestrians to cross.

Similar to pelican crossings, puffin crossings use buttons, lights and sounds to show it is safe for pedestrians to cross, but are fitted with smart sensors that can discern when the crossing is clear to allow traffic through, or when a pedestrian may be taking longer to cross the road and will thus hold traffic up for longer.

Toucan crossings operate in the same way as puffin crossings, but are slightly wider to allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross at the same time. Pegasus crossings, meanwhile, also act in an almost identical fashion but allow pedestrians and horses to cross the road safely together. They also have a raised extra button to allow riders to reach them without having to dismount.


You can only claim compensation if you are able to show that the individual responsible for your injuries did not respond appropriately to the pedestrian crossing and was negligent. This requires you to prove that the driver involved owed you a duty of care, that they breached this duty and that you suffered harm as a result.

All drivers owe a legal duty of care to all other road users. Negligence would therefore be found if the person responsible for your injuries had failed to act in the way a ‘reasonable man’ or the infamous ‘man on the Clapham Omnibus’ would in the same situation.

How a solicitor can help

If you were injured on a pedestrian crossing due to someone else’s negligence, you should get in touch with our team of experienced personal injury lawyers as soon as possible because there are time limits for bringing a claim for compensation –generally three years for an adult or three years from the time a child turns 18.

We will help you prepare your claim, gathering the medical evidence and witness statements you need to bring your case to a successful conclusion. We will also arrange for you to be examined by a medical expert who will assess how your injury was caused and the effect it has had on your life.

The compensation you receive will depend on how serious your injuries are and your prognosis but could include damages for your medical care and rehabilitation, as well as long term living and loss of earning costs if your injury is serious.

For further information, please contact Therese Classon, a Partner in the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence team on 01626 202328 or email thereseclasson@wbw.co.uk. WBW Solicitors has nine offices across the South West in Newton Abbot, Bovey Tracey, Torquay, Paignton, Exeter, Launceston, Exmouth, Sidmouth and Honiton.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.