The RACQ have said there is a “safety compromise” with the new left turn on red trial that began on the Gold Coast yesterday.
The three-month trial allows motorists to turn left on a red light at any of the three designated intersections in Benowa, Southport and Robina.
RACQ Senior Traffic & Safety Engineer Greg Miszkowycz said the RACQ have always favoured slip lanes or green left turn arrows as a safer option over left turn on red.
“The RACQ still have some concerns not only for vehicles but also for vulnerable road users, which are pedestrians and cyclists using the intersection,” he said.
A spokesperson for Mayor Tom Tate said there was “no evidence to suggest that turn left on red is unsafe”.
“Adding slip lanes and other pedestrian crossings are definitely an ideal option, it’s just an option the city can’t afford.
“If we can deliver the same outcome with little or no cost to rate payers it’s definitely the best option for the city at this time,” he said.
A Principal Town Planner from Cardno HRP, David Ransom, said left turn on red could be “confusing” for drivers, like U-turns, as it only applies to select intersections.
“Most people think that they can do a U-turn at any intersection but they can actually only do them at the ones where the signs are, but people continue to do them anyway,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Mayor said U-turns at intersections didn’t seem to be an issue and “what will it be an issue in this case”.
“The trial will be monitored with mobile CCTV cameras at each of the three intersections.
“Furthermore we’ve got a secret location, a fourth intersection, which will act as a console.
“If there’s no increase in the incidents of accidents in these three intersections compared to the fourth, that does not have the signage but similar attributes, then we know that there is no negative safety impact with this particular option,” he said.
A sign bearing the words “Left Turn on Red Permitted After Stopping” will inform motorists where they can perform the manoeuvre at each of the three selected intersections.
The three intersections where left turn on red is being trialled are Heeb Street and Ashmore Road in Benowa, Poinciana Crescent and Slatyer Avenue in Southport and Ron Penhaligon Way and Markeri Street in Robina.
Council, Transport and Main Roads and RACQ are overseeing the trial.