Rainbow Crossing Design and Its Impact on Road Safety

September 23, 2023

rainbow crossing design

Decorative Crossing of us are familiar with rainbow crossings — zebra-style pavement markings painted to indicate that pedestrians have priority at the intersection and that cyclists and motor vehicles should stop. While they’re generally well-accepted, the design of these colourful markings can raise questions about whether or not they impact road safety. A rainbow crossing may not be as safe as a traditional zebra crossing, because the lack of white stripes can confuse drivers who are used to seeing them on conventional crossings. This confusion can lead to motorists accidentally running over the pedestrian crossing, resulting in injuries and deaths.

Rainbow Crossings: Beyond Colorful Streets, A Symbol of LGBTQ+ Pride

The UK’s first permanent rainbow crossing popped up at RAF Brize Norton this year, and it has been hailed by the Defence Infrastructure Organisaton as an important symbol of inclusion and diversity on the base. The crossing is also the first to appear on a military establishment in the country, and it was officially opened on March 31, Transgender Visibility Day.

A rainbow-striped crossing at Taylor Square in Sydney was installed in 2013 to mark the City of Sydney’s sponsorship of the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade that year. The installation was popular, but when council workers hosed down the colourful chalkings after the parade, it sparked a DIY rainbow crosswalk movement that took off worldwide.

Now, the rainbow crossing is back in Herne Hill — on two crossings outside the Brockwell Park entrance — and has been given an updated design to represent the borough’s LGBTQ community. The rainbow crossing was delivered by Merton Council in partnership with FM Conway Contractors, and it’s a welcome splash of colour for pedestrians, schoolchildren, shoppers, and the local arts and cultural scene. It’s also a reminder of the borough’s thriving LGBTI+ community, and a nod to Hate Crime Awareness Week, which kicks off on October 9.