As if driving in New Jersey wasn't difficult enough. Now they've introduced a new kind of traffic light to stop cars and help pedestrians cross a street. The problem is no one knows what you're supposed to do at it or when it's over. A few years ago they installed the first one near Metro Park train station, and with all the hand wringing and nail biting about pedestrian safety these are likely to catch on.

It's called the Hybrid Pedestrian Beacon. There's an amber light and a red light but no green light. There's a solid light and a flashing light. Here's how it's supposed to work. A pedestrian is ready to cross a street. They press a button. The beacon starts flashing an amber light to alert drivers that they'll have to stop soon. The flashing then turns to a solid amber to indicate we're no longer joking, now it's REALLY soon. Then the red lights come on. Solid red. Meaning you have to stop. The cars that is, not the pedestrians. That's when the pedestrians go. Before the pedestrians are even out of the crosswalk on the other side of the street you may notice the solid red then turns to flashing red. Now can you go on a flashing red? You'd wait for them to change green, right? But wait, there IS NO green. So okay, you wait for them to just go dark when they're flashing red, right? When after all, the pedestrians are still in the crosswalk even though on the other side of the street by now. And that new crosswalk law they passed several years ago says you cannot move an inch until the pedestrian is entirely out of the crosswalk, right? Well, yes, that part is right, but the part about waiting until the flashing red light goes dark is wrong.

Under the new rules for the new Hybrid Pedestrian Beacon, you can start driving on the flashing red as long as it is safe to do so and even if the pedestrian is still within their crosswalk just not near you. And you ask yourself, doesn't this law contradict the crosswalk law about not being allowed to move until the pedestrian is entirely out of the crosswalk? Yes, yes it does. Welcome to the Dirty Jerz!

-Jeff Deminski

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