DANGERS CREATED BY THE CONFUSING FLASHING AMBER 'FILTERING' SEQUENCE AT SIGNAL-CONTROLLED CROSSINGS IN SPAIN
Confusing flashing amber 'filtering' sequence (in English)
Confusing flashing amber 'filtering' sequence (in Spanish)
In Spain, over recent years some municipalities have adopted the use of a flashing amber 'filtering' sequence at signal-controlled pedestrian crossings, the intention of which was to improve traffic-flows and reduce congestion, and whilst there is a theoretical attraction to this, the unintended consequence is ongoing confusion and danger.
Historically, a flashing amber was used to warn drivers turning right into a side road that they needed to proceed with caution as they could encounter pedestrians crossing. However, at signal-controlled crossings sited after a roundabout where the 'filtering' sequence is employed, what happens in practice is that many drivers, on seeing the 'red' light switch to flashing amber, either do not stop to check the crossing is clear or immediately move off at speed from the 'STOP' line, whilst simultaneously pedestrians are still on the apron, correctly following the green-man. The danger is particularly acute when there is a high-sided vehicle in one of the lanes, during which time there is no intervisibility between drivers and pedestrians.
What is disturbing is that pedestrians using a signal-controlled crossing instinctively proceed onto the carriageway when they see the 'green man' and do not as a norm look for oncoming traffic. During the flashing amber 'filtering' sequence at least a crossing pedestrian has a chance to quickly step back out of the way of an approaching vehicle. This is extremely dangerous but what is even more alarming is that cyclists, and particularly riders of electric scooters (the numbers of which have increased dramatically over recent years) can be traversing the crossing at 15km/h or more and would have absolutely no opportunity to avoid a collision with a vehicle going through the crossing.
The video sequences graphically illustrate the reality that drivers are repeatedly travelling through at speed on the flashing amber and not conceding priority to crossing pedestrians who are receiving a green-man indicating it is safe for them to cross. The ongoing confusion which exists makes it inevitable that loss of life will occur directly as a result of this type of signal sequencing.
The danger would be addressed by simply reprogramming the signal controller to eliminate the confusing flashing amber for drivers, with the conventional red/amber/green sequence operating 24-hours a day/7 days a week.