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What is a Pedestrian Gate?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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A pedestrian gate is a gate which is designed to inhibit pedestrian access, or to allow pedestrians through a wall or other barrier in a controlled fashion via the gate. The design of the gate is typically narrow enough that people in vehicles cannot pass through it, although pedestrian gates may permit the passage of bicycles, depending on how they are designed. Pedestrian gates are used all over the world in a variety of settings, from the yards of residences to train stations.

One classic form of the pedestrian gate is a gate positioned in a fence or wall to allow people through. For example, many homes in cities are surrounded by fencing for privacy and security, with a pedestrian gate at the end of the front walk to allow visitors to get inside. This gate may be opened with a simple latch, or it may be locked, in which case visitors need a key, or someone needs to activate the gate remotely to allow entrance.

Pedestrian gates are also sometimes located in the fencing which surrounds agricultural areas. In this case, some people install what is known as a kissing gate. Kissing gates allow people through, but keep livestock back. The idea behind such a gate is that a regular pedestrian gate on hinges could be left ajar by a careless pedestrian, allowing livestock to get loose. A kissing gate requires no action on the part of people passing through to keep livestock controlled.

Pedestrian gates can be seen in many areas where access is controlled. Public transit stations, for example, often use a form of pedestrian gate known as a turnstile. Turnstiles allow one person through at a time, with a design which remains locked until someone inserts a fare, token, or pass, at which point the turnstile opens enough to allow one person through before closing again. Turnstiles are also used on buses, at concerts, and in other venues where crowd control may be important.

In some cases, a pedestrian gate is low, classically at hip height. The gate acts as a barrier, but someone can simply leap over the gate if necessary. Other pedestrian gates are taller, designed to keep people from jumping over. This style may be used when security is a major concern, or when the area behind the gate is private and the designer does not want people to be able to see over the gate.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a About Mechanics researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By ddljohn — On Nov 01, 2011

Military establishments have to have separate gates for pedestrians and vehicles for security reasons. When I worked on a military base, I would take the metro and then enter via the pedestrian gate where I showed my ID. Right next to the pedestrian gate was a gate for vehicles. They had their ID checked there as well but also had mirror checks under the car.

If there weren't two gates for pedestrians and vehicles, it would take much longer to do security checks and pedestrians would have to wait for no reason. I think any establishment that has security concerns needs a pedestrian gate and a separate vehicle gate.

By MrSmirnov — On Nov 01, 2011

@manykitties2 - If you are looking for more security you may want to look into some of the electronic locks. These are a bit expensive but they have a pretty solid locking mechanism and some of them have a gate remote control, key card, or pin pad for entry.

My wife was worried about our security so we had really sturdy locks installed on all of the entry points to our home. Also, we managed to get our gate locks on sale, so if you can do that you can save a lot of cash.

Another thing you could consider is big old-fashioned bolt lock. These are quite hard to break through.

By manykitties2 — On Oct 31, 2011

We are currently renovating our home and want to add an entry gate to our backyard so that it can be easily accessed from the park backing it. Having a gate there would really beat having to walk the entire way around our home.

As the gate would be facing a public space what kind of gate locks are the best?

Our old gate just had a simple lock and to be honest, it wasn't very secure. It probably could have been opened by anyone with a branch. We'd really like something that is a bit tougher to get through, as we have a nice tall fence now, making it seem silly to leave such an easy access point for strangers.

By Sunny27 — On Oct 30, 2011

@Crispety - That is really a shame, and I do think that more areas should have pedestrian gates. I have a condo on the beach and one of the nearby hotels has a pedestrian gate so that the tourists from the hotel could easily walk across the street and go the various restaurants that are there. It makes sense because most tourists are not going to necessarily have a car and it is a bit overwhelming crossing a busy street like this especially if you have small children with you.

I have also seen plenty of pedestrian gates in subway stations and I think that those areas with the pedestrian gates also keep the subway stations from becoming overcrowded. These types of gates are great for crowd control because you should only have so many people on the subway platform at a time. I know that it is not as picturesque as a pedestrian bridge outside, but it still serves a good purpose.

By Crispety — On Oct 30, 2011

I think that a pedestrian gate is a great idea especially when it blocks out traffic. We have had quite a few people get hit by cars that were riding their bikes alongside cars on a beautiful road in Key Biscayne. That road could have easily had a pedestrian gate because it is a busy area that a lot of people like to travel to.

It is really a shame and something that could have easily been fixed with a pedestrian gate. Not only does it make the area safer for pedestrians, but it is also more scenic in my opinion.

It is nice to know that you can enjoy walking in the outdoors without getting hit by a car.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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