A car was driven along light rail tracks during peak hour in Gungahlin last night (April 8) and a new photo has come to light of a taxi only centimetres away from being hit by a light rail vehicle (LRV) as concerns over safety issues surrounding the new mode of transport continue.
Last night commuter Steve Ward photographed a car being driven along the light rail tracks near Gungahlin Marketplace just before 6 pm, taking to social media to say “this car identifies as a tram”.
Transport Canberra customer service staff looked on in alarm as the car drove along the tracks at peak hour, with the next LRV due to arrive soon.
A Transport Canberra spokesman said that the car ended up reversing off the tracks of its own accord and did not cause any incidents or disruptions to light rail services.
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However, Transport Canberra does not yet know why the car was on the tracks and is investigating the issue.
Meanwhile, a new image from LRV dash-cam footage has been released to Region Media which shows just how close the LRV came to hitting a taxi which was stopped in its path along Northbourne Avenue on April 11 (prior to the April 20 official launch).
In this incident, the taxi driver finally realised the danger and just managed to drive off the tracks before being hit.
The two incidents have brought a strong warning from ACT Road Safety Minister Shane Rattenbury that road safety is everyone’s responsibility and Canberrans need to take more care.
“Incidents like these should remind all Canberrans to be safe around light rail,” Mr Rattenbury told Region Media today.
“The vehicles are big and red—the tracks are fixed in the ground—so there’s no excuse for getting in the way of light rail,” he said.
“Fortunately in these instances, the drivers quickly rectified their mistakes and no-one was injured.”
The two incidents are among a series of accidents, near misses and safety issues to plague the light rail project, which have included a pedestrian being hit and a LRV driver running a red light just during the testing phase of the project.
On April 12, the ACT Government ramped up its safety campaign ahead of the light rail launch by releasing a video compilation of near misses between motorists/pedestrians and light rail vehicles to caution Canberrans to be more alert on the roads.
The video showed cars failing to obey the signals and entering intersections in front of the LRV as well as pedestrians making a mad dash in front of the moving vehicle.
At the time, Mr Rattenbury said interstate experiences show the first few months when a new light rail network opens are when road users are most at risk.
Mr Rattenbury asked riders, pedestrians and cyclists to share the road with light rail, take road safety seriously and not to take dangerous risks so they don’t “become a statistic”.
“Everyone must be patient as they adjust to sharing the road with light rail, especially during peak hour when a light rail vehicle crosses an intersection every four minutes,” Mr Rattenbury said.
Despite the light rail system not creating any new road rules for drivers, some Canberra motorists are obviously having trouble navigating the road since the introduction of the new public transport system.
Mr Rattenbury said the public needs to recognise that all crashes are preventable and they must continue to obey all signs and traffic signals around the tracks.