After consultation with experts, the well-known friend of the pedestrian is to be phased out and replaced with more sophisticated substitutes. This is due to a rise in deaths during the past four years.

Mounting road deaths in the late 1940s and early 1950s prompted the introduction of the crossings and the first was officially opened in Slough, Berkshire, on October 31, 1951.

While they have been a fixture of the British landscape for 60 years, during the past five years, more than 1000 have disappeared and many others have been replaced by alternatives with lights and flashing signs.

Low fines (£60 fine and three points on the offender’s driving licence) and the refusal of some motorists to stop have also seen deaths on zebra crossings double in the past four years.

Andrew Hammond, head of road safety at the AA, said : “Zebra crossings are looked on as inferior to other pedestrian crossings as there is no red light telling cars to stop.

“In towns and villages there is a pressure from residents for councils to fit pelican crossings as they believe they are safer, so zebras are being phased out.”

The Beatles brought international fame to the British zebra crossing in 1969 with their album cover for Abbey Road.

In 2010, that particular crossing was granted a Grade II listing in the capital to preserve the site.

Many a tourist has followed in the footsteps of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, by posing for pictures on the black and white painted pathway.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers also repeated the band’s stunt for the cover of their 1988 release, the Abbey Road EP.

However, the four members of the band were pictured walking naked, with only socks covering their genitalia.


Other animal crossings on British streets:

Panda crossing: Trialled in 1962 but abandoned because the lights confused motorists.

Pelican crossing: Originally PELICON from PEdestrian LIght CONtrolled. Pedestrians push a button and then wait for a green man to light up.

Puffin crossing: Same as a pelican crossing, but the lit panel tells pedestrians whether to proceed on their side of the road.

Pegasus crossing: Almost identical to pelican crossings, they have a second, slightly higher, button for people on horseback.

Tiger crossing: Can also be used by cyclists. Includes yellow and black stripes painted on the road.