Random road stump leaves Sydney drivers puzzled

The true purpose of a small number of strange metal road stumps that left hundreds of drivers puzzled this week has been revealed.

One perplexed driver photographed one of the odd “metal things” north of Sydney this week and took to the internet for answers.

The photo showed a standard bitumen road with a round metal plate protruding just above the ground just next to the dashed centre line.

“What are these metal things on the road? I see them whenever I am driving around northern Sydney,” the driver wrote in a post to Reddit.

It wasn’t a drain, speed bump or dreaded pothole, leaving many respondents puzzled too.

The small and often annoying items were eventually identified as “silent cops” – outdated traffic devices that used to be set in the centre of roads where there were no traffic lights, to encourage traffic to keep left.

While they would have been previously found dotted all over the country painted in bright yellow, there was a directive from the Roads and Traffic Authority in 2001 for them to be ripped up.

At the time, the authority said they didn’t “serve a purpose any more in terms of traffic management [and] are becoming a rarity”.

Austroads classified them as “an outdated device” and councils across the country were instructed to have them removed from roads.

There was concern they posed significant danger to motorcyclists whose foot pegs could strike them when turning a corner.

They posed greater threat when not made visible with bright paint, which was an area of concern raised by the RTA when they were banned.

“Council should take into account the risks and any liability it may face should existing domes not be suitably maintained,” it said.

Drivers responded to the photo announcing they too had wondered what purpose the metal devices served after spotting them on the road.

Road users had seen them in Newcastle, Dulwich Hill, Panania and even in the NSW Riverina.

Some respondents joked they had alternate uses like triggering traffic lights or cleaning roads.

“It’s part of a road cleaning system. They pop up at night and spray the road surface,” one response read.

“Traffic light button. Roll over it to turn the light green at the next intersection,” another wrote.

Someone else joked they were “great for customising your rims”.

Originally published as Metal road stumps leaves Sydney drives baffled over their purpose

Read original article here

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