A rainbow-coloured artwork painted across a pedestrian crossing in Oxford Street to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Mardi Gras has been removed by the state government, due to road safety concerns.
Minister for roads and ports Duncan Gay released a statement on Tuesday (April 17) in response to those who protested the removal of the artwork.
In his statement, Mr Gay said that the safety of pedestrians was the chief factor in the decision to remove the rainbow crossing.
“While I recognise the good intentions of the rainbow’s supporters, no one in the community would ever want this artwork to contribute to the death or injury of a pedestrian,” said Mr Gay.
“The NSW government has a responsibility for the safety of road users and we have to make decisions based on evidence, not popularity.”
The minister referenced the City of Sydney Council’s independent Road Safety Audit on the crossing, which recommended its removal due to the behaviour of pedestrians in its vicinity.
Such behaviour was judged to be “likely to lead to a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle”.
“Road crashes and unsafe behaviour can occur at any time of the day or night, so this is more than just a late night problem (naturally many of the tourists taking photos would do so during the day),” said Mr Gay.
“It would have only been a matter of time before someone was hit by a vehicle.”
The crossing was a very popular attraction and had drawn comparisons with another crossing made famous by a Beatles album cover.
Unlike the Abbey Road crossing, however, Mr Gay notes that the rainbow crossing was located on a very busy roadway.
“It is unquestionably a very intense traffic environment with high numbers of buses, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians, as well as the usual cars and trucks using the road. It is one of the busiest road access points to the Sydney CBD from the east.”
According to NSW government statistics, 49 passengers were killed in road accidents in 2011, and a further 1,862 suffered pedestrian injury.
As this can be a complex area of law and time is often of the essence, it is a good idea to seek expert advice as soon as you can.