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Simple solution to controversial road rule

Cyclists are currently permitted to ride alongside one other rider, so long as they are travelling within 1.5m of each other.
Cyclists are currently permitted to ride alongside one other rider, so long as they are travelling within 1.5m of each other.

NEW smart pavements could allow roads to change width depending on traffic levels.

The flexible kerb concept would used coloured LEDs to divide lanes up for cars, cyclists and pedestrians based on demand - bringing a solution to the seemingly endless war between Australian cyclists and motorists.

Developed by engineering company, Arup, the design would use smart cameras to detect usage and automatically alter kerbs to create more space for pedestrians or cyclists, reports The Sun.

And space for cars could also be modified when pollution levels are especially high in a bid to cut the impact of exhaust emission.

Would you like to see smart pavements on the Sunshine Coast?

This poll ended on 16 June 2018.

Current Results

Yes, it's a great idea

10%

No, it would make the roads even more confusing

28%

Too expensive, just follow the road rules

61%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

The changes would be made using different coloured lights to mark out uses.

Called Flexkerb, the concept was one of five ideas short-listed by the UK Government's National Infrastructure Commission as part of a competition to design roads fit for driverless cars.

The company could receive up to $A52,650 to test and develop the system and will conduct a desk-based trial of the tech by applying it to a high street in London.

An artist's impression of how the lanes could operate
An artist's impression of how the lanes could operate

Flexkerbs would even allow kerb sides with fixed features such as double yellow lines, parking bays and bus stops to become more flexible - meaning they too could be turned into cycle paths or extra lanes for cars.

According to the commission, a single stretch of road could function as a cycle path at rush hour, a pedestrian space at lunchtime, taxi rank in the evening and loading zone overnight all in the same day.

But the development could potentially raise safety concerns, with some road users already wary of "shared space" areas that seek to declutter streets by stripping out pedestrian barriers, kerbs, road markings and traffic signs.

Susan Claris, associate director for transport consulting at Arup, told The Times: "The streets we have at the moment have mainly been designed many years ago before different types of technology or changes in travel behaviour came along.

"This idea is about having something that's more responsive and more adaptable to changing travel patterns. A key part of it is about having streets that are healthier places for everyone.

"Rather than trying to maximise vehicle throughput, which was the thinking that characterised transport planning 20 or 30 years ago, it is about looking at how streets can be managed to make them healthier and happier places, and more economically viable."

Push to change cycling rule. Picture: Drivers for registration of cyclists/
Push to change cycling rule. Picture: Drivers for registration of cyclists/

The news comes as a Change.org petition, started by Drivers For Registration of Cyclists and calling for all Australian cyclists to be made to ride in a single file, has now gathered more than 87,000 signatures.

The current law that allows them to ride two across and, judging from Today host Karl Stefanovic rant, he seems to back it staying that way.

And the 43-year-old had some harsh words for those who signed the petition.

"I don't understand why they (motorists) are so angry," he began. "Cyclists are doing their own thing, they are great for the environment - making their own way to a place.

"It is up to drivers to be patient. Drivers are the ones losing their heads here. I think cyclists are the people unfortunately bearing the brunt. Look at them, no dramas."

Cyclists are currently permitted to ride alongside one other rider, so long as they are travelling within 1.5m of each other.

However, Drivers For Registration of Cyclists claims that the rule creates a hazard, particularly in conjunction with the new rule requiring NSW motorists to leave minimum gaps when passing cyclists.

Stefanovic, however, disagreed and doubled down on his attack on impatient drivers.

"I know what you are saying, single file, doesn't work," he said. "A cyclist has every right to go around another cyclist.

"I am actually sick of the war between drivers and cyclists. Cyclists don't do anything wrong. They are fine out there on the roads and doing their bit, trying to be fit, healthy, good for the environment.

"It is drivers out there. It is drivers out there who are impatient and who are running and endangering cyclist's lives. I am sick of it."

"Sorry, just too many cyclists injured."

This story first appeared on The Sun.

Topics:  australia cycling drivers editors picks motoring road rules