POLL: Mixed message: RMS accused of double standard

ELECTRONIC message signs have a place in the Orange market, but there has to be some guidelines introduced to ensure their use doesn't become “open slather”, according to Orange councillor Glenn Taylor.

Cr Taylor’s comments come after Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) was accused by the Pedestrian Council of Australia of increasing the risk of serious injury or death on the state’s roads by failing to enforce its own rules about portable electronic advertising.

RMS guidelines say the trailers are banned from state road shoulders, footpaths, green strips or median islands when used for commercial purposes, and when becoming a traffic hazard will be towed away.

Often referred to as variable message signs, the devices are regularly used in Orange, most commonly along the Bathurst Road.

Cr Taylor is not opposed to the use of the signs, but insists there must be some regulation in regards to the time businesses have the signs in use and their location in the city.

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“I think they have a purpose and certainly there’s a market for them,” Cr Taylor said.

“But I won’t support the open slather use of them.

“They can be distracting, particularly at night, and if people are wary of them then we need to rectify that at council.”

Orange Kennards Hire branch manager Craig McMahon said on most occasions, his electronic signs were used to promote events.

“I’m not going to put a sign anywhere that, one, gives me trouble and, two, causes anyone else grief,” he said.

“There has to be something in place that controls the use of them, whether that be turning them off at 10pm, 11pm, or dimming them, all of our signs we can do these things remotely, then I’m all for it.

“There has to be some set parameters about it.”

Mr McMahon said he had encountered some interesting ideas on where to place the signs, and often had to suggest otherwise.

“Probably over 50 per cent of the hires we have we recommend against,” he said.

“People naturally want to put the signs in the highest volume area, but we don’t recommend people place signs on the side of the street or anything like that.”

Bob Jane T-Marts boasts a sign out the front of its Peisley Street store and assistant manager Matt Federici says the ‘Happy New Year’ message definitely stands out.

“We’ve had it out the front for three days and it’ll probably be there another week,” Mr Federici said.

nick.mcgrath@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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