U.K. Installs 'Hands-free' Green Man for Safe Shabbat Crossing

Britain installs first 'hands-free' crossing so that observant Jews can cross the street without having to use electricity on Shabbat.

Observant Jews can now cross the street safely on Shabbat thanks to the installation of Britain's first "hands-free" pedestrian crossing. The new light indicates when to cross and when to stay put without the need to press a button and break Shabbat, the Daily Mail reported on Monday.

Observant Jews do not use electricity or operate machinery on Shabbat, and therefore pressing a button would be in violation of the Sabbath.

The "hands-free" crossing is located near a busy synagogue, the Daily Mail reported, and traffic will stop every 90 seconds from sunset on Friday until nightfall on Saturday.

The crossing, to be placed at the North Circular at the Henlys Corner junction, is one of London's busiest thoroughfares, but planners have assured the public that it will not cause bottleneck, the Daily Mail said.

The system is to come into operation in December after the junction fully reopens following a massive ten-month upgrade costing £8 million, the Daily Mail reported.

The staff at Transport for London, the company responsible for maintaining London's main roads, reportedly decided to include the automatic crossings after religious leaders at Finchley United Synagogue explained the challenges faced by congregants attempting to cross the road.

TfL told the Daily Mail that the "hands-free" green man did not incur extra costs to the upgrade.

A spokesman for TfL said, "we always consult with the community over major road projects. This idea was suggested by the synagogue, whose members asked if it could be done. We thought about it and came to the conclusion that it could," the Daily Mail reported.