Thursday, 19 May 2011

Humped Zebras and other Fowl British ideas

Okay, first an apology for the terrible pun. It seems to rub off on you after you've been here a while. Pun-making is a national pastime, and seriously, Newscasters are the worst. You can't get through an edition of the nightly news without some kind of groaner.

Humped Zebra Crossing.

I took this picture while waiting at the bus stop outside of Tesco (major grocery store chain) in Faversham. The first time I saw it I gasped. It just seemed so… wrong. Then I giggled, because, well, because it was there, in big letters, permanent, and nobody seemed to mind.

Kind of like the first time I asked for a restroom in a fancy department store and the clerk pointed to the HUGE sign overhead: "TOILET." Effective, but crude.

So what is a Humped Zebra Crossing? It is a pedestrian crossing with a traffic-calming hump/bump/elevation.

Zebra Crossings have flashing beacons (yellow blinking balls) on the top of black and white striped poles on either side of the road. Cars must stop if there are any pedestrians near a zebra crossing. (Motorists don’t always do this, especially foreigners.)
Photo: Benjamin D. Esham / Wikimedia Commons

Toucan Crossings have a traffic light, which tells you when to cross, and when traffic has to stop. Toucan crossings are for both pedestrians and bicycles.
Photo: secretlondon / Wikimedia Commons

Pelican Crossings are signal-controlled crossings operated by the pedestrian. You press the button and in a short period of time the traffic light turns red and traffic stops, the green walking man lights up and you can cross. (We have these in America, without the bird reference.) Photo: Patrick Neylan / Wikimedia Commons