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Dear _______, Thank you for your email of 29 April about puffin crossings.

This has been passed to me for reply. The fundamental feature of a Puffin crossing is the near side signal, which is normally mounted on the primary pole to encourage pedestrians to look at the approaching traffic and the signal simultaneously to their nearest point of conflict. Existing crossings with far side pedestrian signals encourage pedestrians to look away from the approaching traffic when pedestrians are waiting for the green signal in the wait area. The position of the near side signal also helps visually impaired people using crossings who cannot clearly discern signals mounted across the road. It is likely that the near side pedestrian signal might get obscured under certain situations. However, the existing regulations allow the use of a repeater signal, which is normally mounted above the existing signal to improve visibility. The Puffin concept was developed by the Department mainly in response to complaints arising from the general public about not having sufficient time to cross the carriageway and also pedestrians being subjected to intimidation by impatient drivers nudging forward during the flashing green man/ amber signal at pelican crossings. Members of the public often complain about the confusion caused when the green man signal goes out whilst they are still on the crossing at junctions. By replacing the flashing amber period with a steady red signal to vehicular traffic, the Puffin gives pedestrians a greater sense of protection compared with a pelican crossing. The Puffin crossing uses detection systems to automatically detect people on the crossing and prevents the lights from turning green to traffic until they have reached the other side. If people cross quickly then this period is shortened, allowing traffic to proceed. This facility should be of particular benefit to the elderly, disabled people and indeed children who may need more time to cross. Puffin crossings also use detection systems to check that there are people waiting to cross. In this way, the crossing request is cancelled if people cross before vehicles are signalled to stop. The deployment of Puffin sequence at all crossing types should encourage better compliance over time. Research commissioned by this Department and others has shown that Puffin crossings can deliver efficiency benefits and are safer than existing crossings. Due to positive signalling, Puffin crossings are also popular among people with learning difficulties and visually impaired people. You can get more information on Puffin crossings on the DfTs web site: www.dft.gov.uk . Meanwhile, we agree that some pedestrians do expose themselves, and other road users, to potential danger by jaywalking. However, we do not believe that we could justify the introduction of legislation making jaywalking illegal. The burden of road traffic law is already quite substantial and the Government has no wish to be over-regulatory. Enforcement would be difficult, particularly in the absence of special identification of individuals, and it is doubtful whether pedestrians would be prepared to respect such a law without strict enforcement. Pedestrians have a duty, along with all other highway users, to ensure that their use of the highway does not create an unsafe environment and that nuisance is minimised. Although there are few legal constraints on pedestrians in this country, legislation provides that they may not wilfully obstruct free passage along a highway nor loiter on pedestrian crossings. We try, through the Highway Code and other publicity material, to educate pedestrians to act in a sensible manner when using roads and to remind them to comply with normal standards of common sense. The Code warns pedestrians to watch out for traffic if they have to step into the road and to use a crossing if nearby. Yours sincerely,

Peter Colmans