Lollipop people protecting pedestrian crossings

When I was young crossing wardens – or whatever you would like to call them, we called them lollipop men and women – would stand at appropriate points of the road where kids would often try and cross, these were where there were usually no other safe places to cross the road, or where kids found it easier to.

Now I just see them standing at traffic lights, traffic lights where there is already a crossing. Simply pressing a button changes lights to red and the cars stop allowing people to cross. So why are they there?


The bus I’m on just stopped right by a lollipop lady and she is standing right at the crossing, so whenever anyone came up, she pressed the button for them and the lights went to red.

I presume that when she encounters some children going to school she presses the button, waits until the lights are red and the traffic is stopped then walks into the middle of the road holding her lollipop high.

I don’t get it. The lights are red, the traffic is stopped, someone who is intent on racing through a red light is more than likely not going to even stop for a lollipop person. Can’t everyone learn to press the button themselves and cross when the lights are red?

Do we really need in this day and age this level of hand holding? Shouldn’t the lollipop people be placed somewhere more dangerous where there are no lights and our children educated to cross roads unaided, and if they can’t then perhaps they need walked to school? Note that I said walked, not driven.

Perhaps it’s just where I am that I see this strange and unncessary behaviour of doubling up on protection. Do your lollipop people or crossing guards/wardens stand at traffic lights? Could they be used in better places? Could the money be used in better places?

3 comments on “Lollipop people protecting pedestrian crossings”

  1. Simone Reply

    I was on my way to uni today and remembered this topic after seeing the lollipop lady in one of the crossings near Finsbury Park do the exact same thing.

  2. Mr JB Reply

    I work as a full-time School Crossing and car park attendant and every day I see motorists who are selfish and inconsiderate to people crossing the road, whether it be children or adults. I am not scared of drivers and use my authority to stop traffic in a fair and responsible way. Most parents are very cooperative but some are under the impression that we can do anything on the roads and that we are responsible for thier kids and drivers when we are not. There is a definate need for school crossing patrollers as the safety of everyone depends on them. It may seem a stupid or out-dated idea but it is very important to be safe than sorry when crossing any roads these days. Some of the roads are so busy that even pedestrian crossings need a crossing patroller to supervise as some motorists are just too selfish to stop when the traffic lights turn to red. It may seem a waste of money to some people but if an accident occurs or someone dies then it would hardly be waste of money. It could mean the difference between someone getting run over or not simply by having a crossing patroller to accompany children or other vulnerable adults to cross the road. It also gives people added reasssurance that a crossing is a safer place in which to cross. People must also remember that certain accidents have taken place before and that is why the council have assessed the need to have a patroller when needed to press the button at the lights and in addition crossing with the lollipop there. The money is well spent as it reduces accidents and prevents careless drivers from running down a young kid or an elderly person.

  3. weblog.brunton.org.uk Reply

    Thanks for commenting Mr JB, and I appreciate what you do, however you’re missing the fundamental point – It is against the law for motorists to ignore a red light.

    Motorists should be prosecuted for driving through red lights full stop. Better still, remove their licence and make them resit their test.

    Placing a crossing guard on a pedestrian crossing isn’t the answer, if a motorist is going to ignore a red light it would be fair to assume that they could ignore a lollipop person.

    If the point is that a lollipop person is more effective than red lights at a pedestrian crossing, then stop putting pedestrian crossings up and use crossing guards instead.

    It doesn’t make sense to have both in the same place.

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