White lines to be removed from roads to boost safety
WHITE dividing lines will be removed from roads in dozens of Scottish towns and villages, under plans to improve pedestrian safety.
Lines separating lanes of traffic have been a feature of the nation's roads for generations. But now experts believe they could be making drivers feel too safe, encouraging them to drive too fast and putting pedestrians at risk.
Aberdeenshire Council is believed to be the first in Scotland to propose scrapping the lines in built up areas - a move which has been welcomed by motoring and safety organisations.
The council's director of transportation, Iain Gabriel, who is proposing the move, says in a report: "Traditionally, road management has tended to concentrate primarily on the movement of traffic. For many roads, this is the correct approach. In contrast, a high street is normally the heart of the town serving a vital function as the focus for human activity of all kinds.
"It is proposed that the council should adopt a new approach to the management of main streets in Aberdeenshire settlements, giving greater emphasis to their function as a centre for human activity and less to their function as a conduit for the movement of traffic."
A key recommendation is the removal of centre lines to reduce the speed of traffic in towns and villages in the area.
Mr Gabriel states: "Although white centre lines can greatly assist drivers on major unlit rural roads, research in Wiltshire has shown that when white centre lines on lit roads within a 30mph speed limit were not replaced, traffic speeds and accidents were both reduced. It is, therefore, proposed that a similar experimental policy should be adopted in Aberdeenshire when roads with street lighting within 30mph speed limits are resurfaced or surface dressed.
"Short sections of line would still be reinstated for guidance at traffic islands or junctions.
Neil Greig, a spokesman for the Institute of Advanced Motorists Motoring Trust in Scotland said: "The concept is quite simple - that if you come round a corner and you are not sure exactly what the priorities are and where you should be on the road, then you will cut your speed."
But he stressed: "A number of factors will have to be taken into account. Novice drivers and older drivers, for example, quite like to know where they're supposed to be on the road and like to have a white line to tell them where to go.
"You don't know how they are going to react in these sorts of situation and, if you get too much uncertainty, you might get a lot of dithering and that could lead to road rage and all sorts of things. It needs to be monitored quite closely."
A spokeswoman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents also welcomed the proposals.
She said: "Schemes similar to this have been shown to have made a positive difference."
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