Ride-UK   The National Bridleroute Network
Introduction | Rationale | Extent | Information | News | Opportunities | Index
Route Identification | Surfacing Standards | Furnture Standards

Pegasus Crossings

With increases in the average speed of motorists and more traffic generally, the British Horse Society recommends the use of subways or bridges for crossing busy roads. Where this is not possible, road crossings at grade can be made much safer by the use of light-controlled crossings, known as 'Pegasus Crossings' or 'equestrian crossings'.

Pictures of signs, road layouts and lights are taken from The Transport Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 [1]. Regulation 48 governs the signs for use at the crossings.

Pegasus crossing near Norwich 1. Equestrian crossings are becoming a popular means of creating a relatively safe means of crossing at grade, which is cheaper and more practical on existing roads than the creation of a subway or bridge. Where new roads are planned, the British Horse Society recommends the use of subways as the first choice of crossing.

Figure 1: Pegasus crossing near Norwich. Photograph courtesy Norfolk County Council.

Pegasus crossing A15, Yaxley, Peterborough 2. As some horses can become excited while waiting to cross, road designers sometimes provide a separate holding area and crossing to segregate equestrians and pedestrians/cyclists. Whether this happens depends on the space available and the predominant use of the crossing.

Figure 2: Pegasus crossing on the A15 at Yaxley, Peterborough. Photograph courtesy Sue Jeggo. Notice the separate pedestrian/cycle crossing on the right hand side of the picture.

Hand operated controls 3. Pegasus crossings are based on the arrangements for pedestrian facilities at junction signals. Such a crossing has a push-button control which, in time, causes the traffic lights to change.

Figure 3: Pegasus crossing on the Blaby By-pass, Leicestershire. Photograph courtesy D Pollard. The rider can easily reach the push-button control panel placed at a height of 2.0m from the ground. Note that the post holding the push-button panel is set back enough from the road that the button can be pressed without the horse's head sticking into the traffic.

4. Of primary importance in the design of a Pegasus crossing is the time between the pressing of the button and the change of lights to stop the traffic. While actual timings will always depend on local conditions, it is important to keep this time as short as possible as horses may become restless.

Hand operated controls 5. The Traffic Signs Regulations [1] provide standard formats for the control panels and lights used by riders.

Figure 4: Control panel for a Pegasus crossing. This is sign 4003.3 from Reference [1]. The push button units should be installed at 2.0m height for mounted equestrians with additional units at standard height for the dismounted rider leading the horse, as can be seen on the post in the foreground in Figure 2. Design © 2002 Crown Copyright.

Light signals for riders

Figure 5: Light signals for equestrian traffic. This is sign 4003.2 from Reference [1]. The lights seen by the horse rider or person leading a horse indicate when crossing should take place. The red horse indicates 'STOP' while the green horse indicates that it is safe to cross as the motor traffic has been ordered to stop. Design © 2002 Crown Copyright.

6. The DTLR provides advice to designers of roads and crossings [2]. The British Horse Society is pleased to reproduce the following, with permission.

"4.27 Where specific measures are being considered for equestrians it is important to recognise that the reaction of horses is not predictable and that when startled or upset they may act defensively or try to take flight, which can make control difficult for the rider. Designers should consider the effect of such behaviour on other road users when providing specific measures for equestrians. The following measures should be considered for equestrians:

  1. increase eye height to 2.7m when considering visibility requirements for riders;
  2. avoid situating crossing points in soft verges which contain dangerous items such as manholes, gullies and ditches;
  3. ensure that there is sufficient verge width to accommodate the horse(s);
  4. avoid excessive use of large roadmarkings on the carriageway or crossing, which can disturb horses;
  5. avoid locating crossings where sudden noises are likely to occur;
  6. push button units should be installed at 2.0m height for mounted equestrians with additional units at standard height for the dismounted rider leading the horse;
  7. staggered crossings are not advised for equestrians;
  8. timings should take account the special needs of equestrians and the additional intergreen period;
  9. segregation of equestrians from pedestrians and cyclists."

The Depatrment for Transport publishes a Traffic Advisory Leaflet which describes Pegasus crossings in more detail, with examples, and further guidance to road designers. Copies can be obtained from DfT.

1. Transport Signs Regulations and General Directions, Statutory Instrument 2002 No. 3113. ISBN 0 11 042942 7
2. Chapter 4 'Road Users Specific Requirements' of Volume 6 Section 2 Part 3 to TD 50/99.

© 2003 The British Horse Society. Extracts from Regulations are © 2002 Crown Copyright. updated November 2007