Confusion is not good for active transport

The road rules are that pedestrians have priority over traffic when crossing unsignalised slip lanes. But how do these rules apply when it is unclear whether the intersection is a slip-lane or not.

The intersection of Young Street and Ipswich Road close to the PA Hospital in Brisbane is a prime example of this. The configuration of Young Street makes it look like a left-in, left-out intersection with unsignalised slip lanes. For pedestrians it has all the characteristics of an unsignalised slip lane.

However, when out there it is very clear that this is used as an unsignalised leg of the Juliette Street signalised intersection. Cars turning into Young Street from Juliette Street and Ipswich Road navigate it at speed and it is very scary trying to cross during the peak period.

I attended a seminar a while back where the Department of Transport and Main Roads explained the priority rules for pedestrians at unsignalised intersections and slip lanes. One of the attendees commented that the road rules on priority are of no benefit to ones safety if most car drivers don't know or comply with them. In practice, vulnerable pedestrians will almost always give priority to the vehicles because in an argument over priority, the vehicle driver will come out of the argument alive.

So where there is confusion as to who has priority, the pedestrian will almost always give priority to the vehicle. If we want to have a road network that is safe and comfortable for active transport, it is vital that confusion over priority is removed.

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