Changes helps drivers and pedestrians

Road rule changes the State Government is considering - including allowing motorists to turn left on a red light - operate across Canada with great success.

Introduced over the past two decades, the rules have been designed to "keep the traffic moving" in Canadian cities, including Vancouver.

_The West Australian _revealed this year that Main Roads was considering introducing the "turn left on red" concept at Perth intersections.

The idea, which is being tested in Brisbane, would allow motorists to turn left at a red light - but only after they have stopped and given way to any vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians.

Vancouver Island driving instructor Steve Wallace said many motorists had thought allowing the practice at Canadian intersections would lead to an increase in accidents involving pedestrians.

"But the law puts the onus on the driver to make sure he is clear to turn," he said. "As a result, we haven't seen an increase in injured pedestrians."

Main Roads is also considering countdown timers to show how many seconds pedestrians have to cross an intersection.

Mr Wallace, a former vice- president of Canada's Driving Schools Association, said the timers were at many intersections and were designed to ensure traffic was not held up by straggling pedestrians.

"Several cities are also looking at countdown timers for cars at traffic signals," he said. "This means cars are ready to go when the lights turn green - another initiative to keep the traffic moving."

The West Australian

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