The new Road Traffic Act will enter into force on 1 June 2020 and, as a result, approximately fifty new traffic signs will be introduced in Finland. The appearance of numerous old signs will also be updated, and changes will be made to road markings.
From June, new traffic signs may be visible on Finnish roads. The reason for this is the new Road Traffic Act. The purpose of the changes is to improve the clarity and visibility of the signs. The updated and new signs will also better meet the needs of current traffic.
Around 50 completely new signs will be introduced. These will include the following traffic signs:
Figure: New traffic signs. From top left: Deer warnings, traffic lanes merging, pedestrians, cyclists and mopeds not permitted and cycling lane.
Expert on Road Signs and Markings Jukka Hopeavuori from the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency believes that, initially, there will be very few completely new signs visible in traffic.
“We will be testing the sign for merging lanes in locations where it is most logical from a traffic perspective to maintain use of the existing lanes for their entire service life as effectively as possible,” Hopeavuori explains.
In addition to completely new traffic signs, the appearance of many old traffic signs will be updated.
“Changes to these signs include the arrowheads, symbols and edge bands. The aim has been to ensure that the signs are easier to read than at present," says Hopeavuori.
Many of the changes are so minor that road users may not even notice them. Numerous signs have been altered slightly more to improve their clarity and readability. For example, the sign warning of cyclists no longer contains a person and the image of the bicycle has also been simplified.
Only one old traffic sign will disappear completely: the additional sign for logging roads. In any case, this was possibly the rarest traffic sign in Finland.
The new Road Traffic Act will also change road markings. Continuous yellow solid lines will be painted white.
“The reason for the change of colour is that Finland is the last EU Member State to use solid yellow lines. We will now introduce the same practice as used everywhere else,” Hopeavuori says.
The transition period for new traffic signs will for the most part be 10 years. This will mean that for several years both new and old traffic signs will be visible in traffic.
Old traffic signs will not be replaced immediately with new ones, but will be replaced as they come to the end of their service life. Solid yellow lines and the lines marking prohibited areas will be changed to white with a slightly shorter transition period. These must be white by 31 May 2023.
"In practice, only a small share of signs must be replaced immediately after the Act enters into force to avoid misunderstandings. These include a few signs banning pedestrians, mopeds and cycling,” explains Hopeavuori.
Images of traffic signs that will enter into force in June can be found at https://vayla.fi/tieverkko/liikennemerkit/merkit2020
More information on the new Road Traffic Act: http://www.tieliikennelaki2020.fi/
Expert on Road Signs and Markings Jukka Hopeavuori, tel. +358 29 534 3047
Expert on Road Signs and Markings Tuomas Österman, tel. +358 29 534 3630
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