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Government ramps up safety campaign ahead of light rail launch

Lachlan Roberts 12 April 2019 55

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.”

LRV near miss compilation

Transport Canberra has released video footage of a range of ‘close calls’ between light rail vehicles and motorists as the ACT Government ramps up its safety campaign in the week leading up to the launch of the light rail network.

Posted by Breaking247 on Thursday, 11 April 2019

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.”

What's Your Opinion?

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55 Responses to Government ramps up safety campaign ahead of light rail launch
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 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 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.

    Andrew Witheford Andrew Witheford 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!

    Andrew Witheford Andrew Witheford 9:37 pm 12 Apr 19

    Genevieve give it some wellie! 👠👓🚙🚆

    Ruth Foley Ruth Foley 2:47 am 13 Apr 19

    Genevieve Watson same rule as in intersections. Even though the light is green....if you can't fit your car through the intersection without blocking it (in case lights turn), then you STOP and wait until either there is space for you to safely get across the intersection; or the lights will change, which means your are NOT caught out, in the middle of the intersection. If that makes sense?

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 Soggs Carl Soggs 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 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 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.

    Kurt Neist Kurt Neist 7:04 pm 12 Apr 19

    It will stop them alright! With destructive finality.

Doc Rutherford Doc 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. 😂

Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 4:58 pm 12 Apr 19

Specsavers visit mandatory, if you can’t see the big red tram from a mile away

Tim Cole Tim Cole 4:42 pm 12 Apr 19

Coincidence, or is it just me that noticed more than a couple of these involving the people who are involved in construction? If they can't keep out of the way of what they've built, it's no wonder they haven't been able to construct it properly in the first place!

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 5:28 pm 12 Apr 19

    Tim Cole are you are talking about the tradies near the end they weren’t working on the light rail rather a building site across the road.

    And what do you mean it hasn’t been built properly? An element of rework is quite normal on construction projects.

Andrew Leiper Andrew Leiper 4:31 pm 12 Apr 19

Yes there have been a number of close calls including a tram that ran a red light and almost t-boned a car. Was the tram driver charged accordingly?

    Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 4:56 pm 12 Apr 19

    Andrew Leiper

    Stood down for retraining. Canberra drivers on the other hand are beyond retraining

Jane Kennedy Jane Kennedy 4:27 pm 12 Apr 19

Or just watch where you are driving

Les Eite Les Eite 3:45 pm 12 Apr 19

It’s simple just look before you cross it’s big and it’s red

    Kathryn Ingram Kathryn Ingram 3:50 pm 12 Apr 19

    Hard not to spot huh?

    Guy Noble Guy Noble 4:09 pm 12 Apr 19

    exactly,,, i would give trams and buses right of way everywhere,, natural selction will sort out the dumbasses

    Kathryn Ingram Kathryn Ingram 10:12 pm 12 Apr 19

    And semi's

Steve Whan Steve Whan 3:17 pm 12 Apr 19

I would suggest, that whilst the 'trams' are lit, the colours are the same as other traffic.

The tram is absorbed/camouflaged into its surroundings until it's quite close.

It doesn't take many brain cells to put a single light, of a unique colour on the leading carriage. Eg Purple.

A single Purple light would be visible for a long distance and be immediately identifiable as a tram approaching.

    Tim Cole Tim Cole 4:40 pm 12 Apr 19

    It hasn't even touched our balance sheets yet, so I'm not sure where you're getting that from

    Doc Rutherford Doc Rutherford 5:17 pm 12 Apr 19

    lol the old "sorry mate l didn't see you" syndrome - as a now ex-motorcyclist the irony is exquisite😉

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 5:25 pm 12 Apr 19

    Steve Whan they run with their front head lights on even in the day time. Easy to spot a mile off.

    And frankly the only time someone needs to spot a tram is on the unsignalled crossings on Northborne Ave. everywhere else is controlled by traffic lights.

    Gareth Rowlands Gareth Rowlands 8:45 am 13 Apr 19

    The intersections are traffic light controlled you don't need it to be a different colour. If you stop at a red light when you should it makes no difference what colour the thing is.'s a massive Red light rail vehicle. If you can't see it you really shouldn't be driving

    Leigh Brady Leigh Brady 10:01 am 13 Apr 19

    Gareth, you’re right, but I think the unsignaled crossings Ashley was talking about were the padestrian ones.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 10:16 am 13 Apr 19

    Leigh Brady that they were. I should have said unsignalled pedestrian crossings to be clearer.

Leese Wills Leese Wills 3:14 pm 12 Apr 19

Looking at you Mark!

    Rhys Jarvis Rhys Jarvis 5:51 pm 12 Apr 19

    Leese Wills Mark Garside would have been going too fast for the camera to pick him up

JC 12:30 pm 12 Apr 19

I’m waiting for it. All the trams fault. Need fences need this need that don’t need light rail.

Everything except the obvious which is obey the road rules and bloody well look.

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