Many intersections operate as "Parallel Crossings" this is where pedestrians cross parallel with running traffic. At these locations (as at all intersections) motorists must share the road and give way to pedestrians when turning.
Traffic signals operate most efficiently when traffic and pedestrian movements occur simultaneously.
Combining these movements means there is a reduction in the number of cycles that traffic signals need to undergo, allowing traffic to move through the intersection quicker.
A green traffic signal doesn't automatically mean go. The Road Traffic Code clearly states that motorists must give way to pedestrians crossing the leg of the intersection that the motorist is turning into.
A green display indicates that a motorist "may" have right of way after considering any other road rules that apply at a given time.
The flashing red walk symbol is an indication that pedestrians still have "right of way" and they are legally permitted to finish their crossing.
The flashing display allows pedestrians who have already started crossing to safely complete their crossing.
Previously, motorists needed to wait for a whole phase or the expiration of a long red arrow before being able to turn at a set of traffic signals. Motorists using their judgement to turn as soon as a crossing is free of pedestrians allow the reduction or removal of the red arrow, allowing traffic to move through an intersection without having to wait for numerous cycles to be completed.
The Road Traffic Code 2000 states in part 'Turning vehicles must give way to pedestrians'. If vehicles do not give way, they can be reported to the WA Police, who enforce the Road Traffic Code.