Government ramps up safety campaign ahead of light rail launch

Lachlan Roberts 12 April 2019 52

There have been a series of close calls’ between light rail vehicles and motorists in the past few months. Screen grabs from Transport Canberra video.

The ACT Government is ramping up its safety campaign ahead of the light rail launch by releasing a compilation of near misses between motorists/pedestrians and light rail vehicles to caution Canberrans to be more alert on the roads.

With light rail coming into operation next week, ACT Minister for Road Safety Shane Rattenbury said interstate experiences show the first few months when a new light rail network opens is when road users and vulnerable road users are most at risk.

In the past month, a pedestrian was hit and a LRV driver ran a red light during the testing phase but as the new footage shows, several near misses have also occurred during this time. The new video released by the ACT Government shows 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.

Mr Rattenbury reminded drivers, 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” when light rail begins on Saturday April 20.

“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.

“This is a really exciting time for our city and we all need to take particular care around light rail.

“The near misses we have seen so far are a reminder that road safety is everyone’s responsibility and the importance of staying alert around light rail.”

Despite the light rail system not creating any new road rules for drivers, some Canberra motorists seem to be 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.

“What has changed for drivers is light rail vehicles have priority over cars at intersections and this means lights won’t change in a regular order anymore,” he said. “But if you are obeying the traffic lights you will be safe.

“You must be prepared to stop at an amber light and do not queue across an intersection because a light rail vehicle might be coming towards you.

“For pedestrians, because intersections have changed you may not be able to cross the road in one go anymore. You should always stop before you cross because you may not hear a light rail vehicle approaching and must stop to look.

“Light rail vehicles take longer to stop than cars so be alert and keep your eyes on the road and tracks, not on your phone.”

The footage shows vehicles nearly colliding with the LRV.

Mr Rattenbury also reminded cyclists to pay particular attention when crossing the light rail tracks and be careful their bicycle wheels do not get caught in the grooves of the tracks.

He advised cyclists and pedestrians to take advantage of the recently built mid-block designated crossings and intersections and not to dash across the light rail tracks.

“The ACT is committed to Vision Zero – that is, no death on our roads is acceptable,” he said. “We should not accept any road crash that results in injury or death, and we must recognise that all crashes are preventable.”

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52 Responses to Government ramps up safety campaign ahead of light rail launch
tim_c tim_c 9:36 am 23 Apr 19

I don’t know how the ACT Government can pretend to be concerned about road safety and vulnerable road users, blah blah blah, while they continue to permit drivers like these to use public roads – most of them are blatantly running red lights!

Barron Barron 5:12 pm 18 Apr 19

Melbourne has had trams since before most of us were born yet they still have serious accidents. To introduce unwanted trams at road level in the ACT is not only arrogant but borders on the negligent if the Government refuses to recognise the fact that they have introduced a major new traffic hazards.

BlowMeDown BlowMeDown 4:54 pm 18 Apr 19

If no-one has already, I’d like to coin the term “tram jam”. Do I need to explain what that is?

Jackson Bond Jackson Bond 3:32 pm 13 Apr 19

I'm not sure how you can not see them. They are big and red...just like the ACT Budget will be for decades to come now this folly has bankrupted the Territory.

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 1:13 pm 13 Apr 19

Cyclists will need to obey the road rules along with everyone else – that will take them some time to get used to.

Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 12:29 pm 13 Apr 19

It is quite disingenuous of the Government to be posting this video mocking people for their behaviour in the light rail zone when they have presided over many years of abysmal road safety results. I would prefer a video of bad driving on the Tuggeranong or GDE be posted, regularly.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:36 am 13 Apr 19

The elevated monorail option would have obviated all these problems and it would have been sexier.

Henry Rocek Henry Rocek 10:26 am 13 Apr 19

What they need is a vigorous “no excuses, no warnings” enforcement campaign by ACT policing. A good old fashioned blitz. Fine them into oblivion!

Alex Edwards Alex Edwards 9:27 am 13 Apr 19

Just an extension of the existing syndrome in the ACT - the concept that “the rules don’t really apply to me”. Same goes for the difficulty people seem to have in obeying reduced-speed limit signs in road work/construction zones (or obeying any speed limits for that matter). 😪

Ria Rakali Ria Rakali 8:38 am 13 Apr 19

Conditions have changed. People do drive/walk on “auto pilot” where they have made the same journey 100’s or 1000’s of times before. This will involve an adjustment for people. I’m not a northside driver, but I drove across the rails not long ago, driving in the dark. I couldn’t see the rails until I was right up on them.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 5:41 pm 13 Apr 19

    One does not expect to see rails on a road these days. One hundred year old tram technology is not compatible with modern motor vehicles and their roads.

    Note I said tram and not light rail because trams share roadway intersections in Canberra and light rail runs on its own carriageway exclusively.

    Wait for the spin.

Adrian Sandrey Adrian Sandrey 9:33 pm 12 Apr 19

Money well spent already!!

David Moncrieff David Moncrieff 8:43 pm 12 Apr 19

Cannot believe the stupidity of some people, oh, hang on ...

Genevieve Watson Genevieve Watson 8:35 pm 12 Apr 19

Agree completely- people are going to have to stop running red lights. The ACT Government also needs to extend how long the amber light goes for to minimise people leaving on the green and not getting through the intersection before it has turned red.

    Andy Wiford Andy Wiford 9:14 pm 12 Apr 19

    Genevieve the law is that you only red if your wheels are behind the line when the light goes red. So people slow to get across the intersection wouldn't be booked. But agree, there are too many clowns running reds. And using their phones. 😠

    Genevieve Watson Genevieve Watson 9:27 pm 12 Apr 19

    Andrew Witheford I’m more worried about being caught in the intersection when a tram comes along!

    Andy Wiford Andy Wiford 9:37 pm 12 Apr 19

    Genevieve give it some wellie! 👠👓🚙🚆

Lisa Ries Lisa Ries 6:49 pm 12 Apr 19

What it’s not running yet. On time and on budget 😂😂😂

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 5:11 pm 14 Apr 19

    Lisa Ries it is both on time according to the contract (rather than the pollies promises) and on budget or should I say within the budgeted contingency.

Jeremy Calero Jeremy Calero 6:23 pm 12 Apr 19

I’m confused. Do the lights not got red when the tram goes past? Are these people running red lights? :S

    Ryan Tuna Ryan Tuna 9:02 pm 12 Apr 19

    Jeremy Calero Nah, from experience I can say it’s people ignoring the “road closed” trucks when testing.

    The intersections aren’t permanently closed, sometimes in testing the just park the utes either side down the road. People ignore/don’t notice them.

Carl S Carl S 6:07 pm 12 Apr 19

I want to see hook turns around tram lines, see how Canberrans deal with it

Iaian Ross Iaian Ross 5:56 pm 12 Apr 19

#1 & #3 has me seriously confused as to what those drivers were even thinking. Especially #3 which is all kinds of ridiculousness.

Rollersk8r Rollersk8r 5:54 pm 12 Apr 19

Oh yes it’s all funny jokes about how only morons will get hit by the tram. Except for the fact it will actually happen and someone, or maybe several people, will be killed. But hey, it’s just a human life, we’ll put it down to teeth problems and run more education campaigns.

Anyone who has actually stood on the Northbourne median strip as the tram comes through an intersection will appreciate it’s nothing like the trams in Melbourne. Nor is it like trains anywhere else with a raised and separated platform. It’s an enormous vehicle, travelling out of sync with traffic, bearing down at 70kmh – and it makes very little noise.

    Sassy Nick Sassy Nick 5:35 pm 13 Apr 19

    Yes I totally agree. These light rail vehicles are very quiet and do travel fairly fast.

Corey Karl Corey Karl 5:20 pm 12 Apr 19

Have they not driven a car around Canberra before !!!! You can’t go to a set of lights without seeing at least one car run a red...... I can’t see how having a tram is going to stop them ??

    Cary Elliot Johnson Cary Elliot Johnson 5:49 pm 12 Apr 19

    Corey Karl what he said ++++1. And, people have always stopped in the middle part of Northbourne when they've entered an intersection too late.

Paul Rutherford Paul Rutherford 5:15 pm 12 Apr 19

Too many Canberrans drive with their heads up their arses. Speaking as a former tram driver l'm confident natural selection will fix the problem. 😂

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