The Secret Button

scretbuttonsmallThe secret button at pedestrian crossings – Did you know about this?

Well we did’nt

We picked up this from an article on the BBC News OUCH Blog posts.

Original Source – BBC News OUCH – Click Here

OUCH explores the disability world in blog posts and a monthly internet radio talk show. The webpage explains more about OUCH, “It is brought to you by an award-winning team of disabled journalists – Emma Tracey and Damon Rose – with help from guest contributors who all have personal connections to disability.

Ouch goes behind the headlines of disability news, and also lifts the lid on the little details about being disabled that are not widely talked about.”

So what is this secret button, “It’s a small, unassuming plastic or metal cone which you can find on the underside of pedestrian crossings.

It’s there for those people who can’t see the lights, like visually impaired or blind people. When they feel it spinning they know they have the right of way.

When crossing a road you can stand near the control box with your hand on the cone and independently know you can cross when it spins, without having to get help from a passer-by, if there is one”

How do people use it?

Hugh Huddy is blind and works for visual impairment charities’ umbrella group Vision 2020. He says he is always pleased to see a cone on a crossing but wouldn’t just walk into a road because of a spinning mechanism: “An important point to make is that I wait for the cone to rotate but combine the information that it gives me with listening to the traffic on the road in front of me. You can hear whether they’re changing gear or slowing down.

“The cone isn’t telling you it’s safe to cross, it’s telling you the light is on. For instance, cyclists like whizzing through crossings sometimes, even though they shouldn’t.”

Original Source – BBC News Ouch – Click Here

Apparently in Northern Ireland we have had them for years on virtually all our pedestrian crossings.

Posting the OUCH Blog post on our Facebook page riders have said in response, “You learn something new every day lol.” and one for the urban street myths, We used to be convinced spinning them made the lights turn green faster.”

Our own vision was of curious motorcyclists stopping at these lights pressing buttons and feeling for the secret spinning button.

However now that we know, we will now be looking for pedestrians feeling for the secret button in the knowledge that the pedestrian may be visually impaired.

The not now so secret button!

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  1. bob craven says

    There are also crossings where an alarm or buzzer or bell sounds indicating to blind persons that the road is safe to cross.
    However whilst in Dublin the other week I noticed that the sound being made was not clearly audible with all the other traffic and pedestrian noises. I was informed later that some had complained about the noise and therefore it had been muted!!!!!!.
    Further of course is the problem that blind and deaf persons have and they would have difficulty actually getting to the traffic light posts, particularly on some of the crossings in Dublin.

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