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Journeys : Oct Nov 2011
Travelling on Gail Foster wins $50 for her letter about social media. “Great ideas Gail, happy to say we are currently considering new digital engagement platforms right now – and now we’ll include these as well!” Vince Taskunas General Manager Public Policy and Communications We welcome letters on any motoring or travel-related topic. Keep them brief – we reserve the right to edit. Contact us by post or email and please include your postal address. Email the editor at email@example.com .au additional sign – ‘ Welcome to Slowbar t, just say no to ever ything!’ I have noticed that traffic had been slowed on these main thoroughfares through Hobart by modifying the traffic light sequence. The objective of this seems to be to get ever ybody used to travelling as if it is peak hour 24/7. More stopping and starting means greater fuel consumption and of course greater CO2 emissions. Funny, I thought this was what the carbon tax was supposed to reduce. Finally, although I cannot vote-out the Hobart City Council at the next election as I live in Clarence, I can vote against the current Green-L abor Government. The slow ing of traffic needed sign-off by DIER, hence State Government approval or inaction. What is it with the State Labor Party these days? Are they deliberately trying to have no seats after the next election? Evan Evans Lindisfarne Pedestrian lights incorporate timers w ithin the green walk sign that count down the number of seconds available for crossing streets. These seem to var y from 60 seconds for large intersections to 30 seconds for lesser ones. At the expiration of the allotted time the signal turns to red. It seems to me that this is an effective safety feature, in that pedestrians can cross streets secure in the knowledge that they have adequate time to complete their movement. It is a far cr y from many of the Tasmanian controlled intersections where the pedestrian signal begins flashing red almost as soon as one steps off the pavement. Vehicular traffic lights in Russia also are more sophisticated than the home-grow n variety, in that the green light begins flashing some seconds before it tur ns to amber. This feature generates adequate war ning to motorists that the lights are about to change and provides some impetus to slow down preparatory to stopping. It presumably also significantly reduces the incidences of motorists r unning red lights, as there is an additional step between the normal green light and the red. Perhaps Australian traffic authorities could give some consideration to adopting these practices in the interests of added road safety. Andrew Ross Rosny Park The dangers of being a pedestrian The Journeys article on pedestrian safety was most welcome but it failed to mention any of the bad driving habits that particularly concern me as a pedestrian. (I write as someone who has walked to work in central Hobart for most of the past thirty years). I never used to be frightened that I would be hit by a car as I crossed the road, but I am now, and it’s not just because I’m getting older. The reason is the aggressiveness and disregard for pedestrians shown by an increasing number of drivers. To give three common examples: • Drivers who deliberately attempt to run red lights. This is especially dangerous at intersections where the walk lights change a few seconds before the vehicle lights. I recently witnessed a near miss when an elderly pedestrian was almost hit in these circumstances. • Drivers tur ning at traffic light- controlled intersections who fail to give way to pedestrians already crossing the road with a green walk light. I have exper ienced this several times in recent years but I cannot recall ever having been subject to such blatantly illegal intimidation by car drivers in years gone by. • Dr ivers tur ning left at intersections not controlled by traffic lights who fail to give way to pedestr ians crossing the road. I have exper ienced this so often that I felt obliged to check the Tasmanian Road Rules to confirm that I really do have right-of-way in such circumstances. The most fr ightening aspect of this is that so many drivers, despite a clear view of me, approach the corner at such a speed that they would have great difficulty avoiding me if I did assert my right-of-way and step out in front of them. I doubt that any of the drivers exhibiting these behaviours set out with the deliberate intention of killing a pedestr ian, but they need to realise that this is the likely outcome of their thoughtless, aggressive and illegal behaviour. I no longer trust the green walk light or the law to indicate when it is safe to step onto the road – I take a very careful look first. Nicholas Sawyer South Hobart Lights on and be seen Some time ago the RACT was advocating as a road safety measure that motorists drive w ith lights on at all times to improve visibility on our roads. Is this no longer considered desirable? If introduced it would also eliminate the large number of cars seen without lights at dusk at this time of the year. Peter Laing Lenah Valley The bright lights of St Petersburg Having just returned from an overseas holiday I noted with some interest the way that both pedestrian and vehicular traffic is managed at controlled intersections in St Petersburg, Russia. In our community October / November 2011 13
MNJ Aug Sep 2011