TAMWORTH Regional Council must sacrifice style to improve safety by removing vision-impairing vegetation from roundabouts.
That is the view of many local motorists fed up with playing high-stakes guessing games at some of the city's busiest intersections.
The vegetation-rich roundabouts at Jewry and Peel streets, and Scott and Goonoo Goonoo roads, are considered among the worst in Tamworth.
Local taxi driver Greg Rowland said the height of plants and shrubs on many roundabouts was a growing safety problem.
He said that vegetation obscuring a motorist’s vision turned roundabouts from effective traffic-management devices into “roulette wheels”.
Mr Rowland raised the issue with the Tamworth Regional Local Traffic Committee on behalf of his fellow taxi drivers several times last year.
“It’s a safety consideration,” he said.
“We’re not saying you have to have just bricks and mortar, but there has to be a sensible limit.
“The worst one would be the roundabout near Spotlight, because it gives you just a split second to make a decision.
“The response from council was that the vegetation slows the traffic down, but shouldn’t they be trying to enhance traffic flow?”
Hillvue resident Peter Langston said he “disagreed totally” that reducing a driver’s ability to see their fellow motorists’ actions was an effective safety ploy. He said he had travelled widely across Australia and the trend in other cities and towns seemed to be for vegetation-free roundabouts.
“If you can see what’s coming, you can make an informed decision, as opposed to sitting there waiting, waiting, waiting and then going ’round when it’s not safe to do so,” he said.
“I’ve had near-misses myself when everyone on the roundabout is trying to get away and they can’t see what’s happening.”