Look out before you step out

TramA reminder in this morning’s paper of why you should look before you step out of a tram:

The 12.14am kid arrives, the blue light case. The paramedics got him in quicker than 15 minutes. He’s a mess. He’s collided with a car allegedly travelling 70 km/h in Preston as he stepped out of a tram into the rain with a mate, on his way home from a night out on the drink. Dr West wants us to take a close look not because he’s been the victim of CBD violence but because his terrible injuries are instructive.

He has a fractured skull, possible brain damage and blood in a lung. Paramedics say his head hit the windscreen, which shattered.

Morons on the road lurk everywhere.

While tram platform stops have largely taken over at the most visible tram stops around the CBD, at most locations in the suburbs there’s little or no protection — you just step out onto the street.

It’ll be decades before all those stops get upgraded. Personally I quite like the stop design used in Whitehorse Road in Box Hill, which physically prevents cars getting past. True, the motorists don’t like it, and it’s incompatible with Clearways. Tough luck; where possible motorists should be encouraged onto other roads. But I digress.

Meanwhile the visual prompt of a sign that sticks outwards when the doors open is difficult to fit to the newer trams, which have sliding doors.

Idiot car drivers ignoring the rules is nothing new of course. Just on ten years ago I berated a driver by phone for nearly knocking me down… while I was on crutches!

It seems that while traffic enforcement has improved in some areas (it seems like you can’t speed regularly these days without being caught), there’s been little progress on this — it’s been over five years since it was tram cameras were first proposed, and only started getting trialled last year… with no news on how that went.

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13 Replies to “Look out before you step out”

  1. Royal Parade is a shocker. I am forever seeing cars hoon past as trams stop, and twice this year have had to wait on the steps of the tram to avoid being hit.

  2. The behaviour of car drivers is reinforced/encouraged by Brumby’s “roads are everything and the answer to all our problems” attitude while ignoring the very obvious neglect of the public transport system.

  3. You can see that the tram drivers are frustrated and angry when drivers don’t stop but sounding the puny bell really doesn’t achieve a great deal. Why don’t they install a camera at the front of the tram to be operated by the driver so s/he can capture a picture of offending drivers so a fine cab then be issued? IMO the fine for this offence should be huge, comparable with the risk it presents to passengers.

  4. I have had a few near misses with morons on the road getting off trams. One time I was crossing the road when the green man was on a moron just sped through at nearly 100km/h and nearly collected me. What also is frustrating is cyclists also speed through pedestrian crossings when the traffic has come to a stop. In 2006 a hell-rider hit and killed an old man on his morning walk when he was crossing the road, when traffic had stopped.

    I know this sounds ambitious, but I think there should be some sort of boom gate or large stop sign attached to the back of all trams and it should go up everytime the tram stops, I think that could reduce accidents?

  5. I regularly take the 109 in and out of town and twice in the last few months (out in the ‘burbs) had to duck back into the tram to avoid cars flashing by at the stop. It was only by taking great care on exiting that I noticed then first, if I was young/distracted the chances are that I’d have been hit. Scary.

    Maybe passenger ‘prevention’ is a good approach – ie have some sort of hard to ignore warning for passengers to look left before they step off the tram? Or maybe the driver has the responsibility to only open the door when the traffic has stopped. I know that would not always work, but it could help.

  6. Sorry guys, I linked to a couple of things about tram cameras, but didn’t properly hint at what they were. Fixed now. Tram cameras to catch drivers were proposed in 2003, and trialled last year.

  7. They should have started a program of converting all tram stops to platform stops in the 1990`s.

    They should have gone through with the plan to have the post 1990 B class as low-floor and also built some low-floor A class.

  8. I recently had one guy shake his head at me “don’t try it” as I started to step off the tram while he sped through. Real nice. And let’s not forget the car weaving through pedestrians as the tram is frantically dinging the gong.

    My pet hate is when you nearly get collected, but the tram driver just sits there like it’s not his/her problem; the token bell-ringing at the least -might- get the driver’s attention!!

  9. I had a beauty one night on the 59 in Essendon. The tram stopped at a red light and a car just drove through the people getting off, but then stopped at the red light. The tram driver got up and gave the driver an earful. When the driver got back on, he got applause from the remaining passengers.

  10. OK so I emailed Yarra Trams about the progress of tram cameras and just got a call about it.

    Apparently the trial was done in conjunction with the DOT (Dept of Transport) on YT rollingstock (of course).

    The trial has been completed and currently the DOT “have it in their hands”. Thus further enquiries should be directed their way.

    Yarra Trams advised that if any information from the trial becomes publicly available they will most likely publish it on their website.

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