Western Australia

WA Government trials new caution lights at William Street and St Georges Terrace intersection to help protect pedestrians

IN an Australian first, the Western Australian Government last week announced that motorists in the Perth CBD will trial a new flashing yellow caution light which encourages them to give way to pedestrians.

The lights, used in cities throughout Europe, are on trial for a month from October 19 at the intersection of William Street and St Georges Terrace to alert turning traffic.

Transport Minister Dean Nalder said under the road rules, motorists must give way to pedestrians when turning left or right at traffic lights.

Artist's impression of pedestrian caution lights
Above: Artist's impression of pedestrian caution lights / WA Government.

The traffic lights will operate as follows:

  • The pedestrian 'green man' walk symbol is displayed when it is safe to start crossing the road. As well as the green traffic light, turning traffic will observe a flashing yellow caution light to reinforce that pedestrians have right of way;
  • A flashing 'red man' then allows pedestrians to finish crossing the road and the flashing yellow caution light continues to remind drivers that pedestrians still have right of way; and
  • A solid 'red man' don't walk symbol is displayed, stopping pedestrians from crossing the road. At this point the flashing yellow caution light ceases.

Mr Nalder said Main Roads had reviewed world's best practice and developed the initiative in response to public feedback.

According to the Minister, flashing yellow caution lights are known internationally as best practice for improving pedestrian safety and have been implemented in many European cities, particularly in Barcelona and Vienna.

"Road users say there is confusion about who has right of way at crossings and that motorists simply do not know they must wait for pedestrians," the Minister said.

After one month, Main Roads will assess if driver behaviour has improved through a before and after video study and onsite surveys with the public. If successful, the trial will be extended to four more city intersections.

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