The other day I watched in amazement as a tram, bell ringing repeatedly, bore down on two people walking along in front of it, oblivious to its presence. They were trying to get to the tram stop, and somehow thought walking along the tracks was the best way of doing so.
One of them looked around and saw it, and scurried out of the way. The other was a woman jabbering into a mobile phone, who remained totally unaware that 34 tonnes of metal would have made a mess of her if the tram driver hadn’t had fast enough reactions to brake sharply. To get around the big yellow safety zone blob thing, she walked further onto the track, before ducking back to the “safe” area of the stop. She was still on the phone after she got on the tram.
Now, I know we have various devices vying for our attention. I have an iPod and a mobile phone, and sometimes I use the phone while on the move. (Last night I switched on my iPod on the train, on random play. The first song: Powderfinger “Passenger”.)
But really, you have to keep alert and aware of your surroundings. To blindly walk in front of an approaching tram is just utterly stupid. I know some tram drivers are exasperated by this kind of behaviour, especially as it is not particularly uncommon for people to be hit by them.
It’s not the first time I’ve seen something like that happen at that particular spot (Bourke Street, eastbound stop at William Street). And granted an eventual replacement of that stop with a “Superstop” would help solve such carelessness. But people have to take some personal responsibility. Walking out in front of a tram is akin to walking in front of a semi-trailer. Neither can stop quickly, and they are both heavy enough that they’ll probably kill you if you get hit by them.
Hell, walking anywhere in a populated area without watching where you’re going is dangerous. Take care out there, people.