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New traffic signs to be simplified and genderless

Approximately 50 Finnish traffic signs are being updated as of 1 June to improve their clarity and visibility.

Uusia liikennemerkkejä.
New traffic signs will include those for deer warnings and traffic lanes merging. Image: Väylä

A new Road Traffic Act to take effect later this year will see new traffic signs introduced around the country, while some older signs will be revamped.

The new legislation will come into force from the start of June, when about fifty new traffic signs will be erected. At the same time, the appearance of many old signs will be updated, and there will be some changes to road markings.

The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency says that the purpose of the changes is to improve the clarity and visibility of the signs.

Jukka Hopeavuori, an expert on road signs and markings at the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, stated in a release that changes to signs include modifications to arrowheads, symbols and edge bands. The aim is to ensure that the signs are easier to read than at present.

Also, among the changes is the introduction of "genderless" stick figures on signs.

Story continues after image.

Old and new sign for pedestrian crossing
The current pedestrian crossing sign (left) features a masculine figure, the new one (right) a simple stick figure. Image: Väylä

Some changes are so minor that they may go unnoticed by most people. A number have been modified to make them more distinct and easier to read. For example, the human figure will be eliminated from the cyclist warning sign and the bicycle image has been simplified.

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Old and new warning sign for bicycles.
Image: Väylä

Long transition

The new Road Traffic Act will also change road markings. Continuous yellow lines will be painted white.

Finland is the last EU Member State to use solid yellow lines. "We will now introduce the same practice as used everywhere else," Hopeavuori said.

The new traffic signs will not be rolled out all at once. Many signs will not be replaced until they come to the end of their service life. This is likely to mean a transition period of about 10 years before all signs will be replaced. Only a small proportion of signs will be replaced at the start of June. These include a few warnings banning pedestrians, mopeds and cycling.

All solid yellow lines and the lines marking prohibited areas will be changed to white by no later than 31 May 2023.

Only one old traffic sign will disappear completely: the supplementary sign for logging roads. According to the Transport Infrastructure Agency, this is possibly one of Finland's rarest traffic signs.

All of the traffic signs to be introduced in June can be found on the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency website (in Finnish).

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