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Traffic lights and crossings

Dorset Council are responsible for traffic lights and crossings in Dorset. We work hard to ensure our traffic lights and crossings are safe and working efficiently.

Controlled pedestrian crossings

Controlled types of crossing are:

Pelican

The traditional and original controlled crossing. Pedestrians push a button at the roadside and wait for the signal to cross, either/or an audible signal or a green man on the opposite side of the road. A certain amount of crossing time is provided.

Cyclists must dismount at this crossings.

Puffin

A more intelligent version of the pelican crossing. The pushbutton box is again set at the roadside, but it also displays the red man and green man. These are usually placed so that pedestrians are also facing the direction of approaching traffic, so they can see that traffic has stopped at the same time as a green man is displayed.

Detectors monitor pedestrians across the road so a red signal for vehicles is held until all pedestrians have safely reached the pavement on the other side. Detectors on the pavement monitor pedestrians waiting to cross, so if a pedestrian pushes the button to cross but then walks away, the request to cross is cancelled and traffic can keep flowing.

Cyclists must dismount at these crossings.

Toucan

A crossing designed for use by both pedestrians and cyclists. Cyclists need not dismount to cross the road at these crossings.  They work in the same way as Puffin crossings, but the red man and green man are also accompanied by a red and green bicycle.

Pedestrians and cyclists cross at the same time.

Pegasus

A crossing suited for horse riders as well as pedestrians.  Found frequently in rural locations at bridleway crossings.

The pushbutton boxes are raised higher off the ground to allow horse riders to request to cross without dismounting.

Zebra

A crossing flagged by flashing amber beacons. Drivers must give way to pedestrians when they approach or are on the crossing.

At junctions

Pedestrian crossings can be found at traffic signal controlled junctions, where the phasing of the lights allow pedestrians to cross in between stages of traffic flow.

Facilities for pedestrians with a disability

All signal controlled crossings have facilities for sight or hearing impaired pedestrians.

Audible signals

Audible 'bleeping' will sound at a crossing when the green man is shown and it should be safe to cross.

Audible signals will not sound at staggered crossings, or crossings in close proximity to others. Safety situations can arise if a visually impaired pedestrian mistakenly hears an audible signal from another crossing and crosses the road inadvertently.

Rotating tactile cones

Pedestrians can put their fingers on the underside of the push-button box at the roadside to locate a cone (found in the middle). When the cone begins to turn, the green man is also displayed, which signals it should be safe to cross. When the red man is displayed, the cone stops rotating.

Paving

Most crossings have tactile paving installed, which is laid in an approved pattern to 'lead' those who are blind or partially sighted to the position of the push button unit.

Crossing detection

At certain newer and upgraded crossings, detectors overlooking the road monitor pedestrians crossing from one side to the other. The detectors hold a red signal to traffic for an extended period until pedestrians have safely cleared the crossing, regardless of whether the audible signal has stopped or the green man has disappeared.

An ongoing revamp of crossings over time will eventually see all crossings in Dorset upgraded with this facility.

At these crossings, when the audible signal stops or the red man re-appears pedestrians should not start to cross, not only is this dangerous, but it unduly holds vehicle traffic and can lead to delays.

Requesting a pedestrian crossing

Pedestrian crossings are very expensive and the cost of surveying the proposed site is also very high. In view of this, we ask that all requests for pedestrian crossings are passed through your town or parish council. If your council supports the proposal we ask that they contact us.

The town or parish council should undertake a local community exercise to engage with residents in order to receive a wide-range of feedback on the proposal.

The request letter should contain as much information as possible, such as the location, the sorts of difficulties local people are experiencing in crossing and any local knowledge on wheelchair users and other vulnerable people who would benefit from a crossing.

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