Centre for Road Safety

Heads Up – play it safe around light rail

Whether you're walking, riding, driving or catching public transport, it's important we all know the rules and play our part to stay safe around light rail.

Top 5 light rail safety tips

  1. Know and obey the rules for when you are using the road around the light rail corridor
  2. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings - trams are quiet and unable to stop quickly or easily
  3. Always follow traffic signals and signs
  4. When crossing the tracks on a bicycle, in a wheelchair, or with a pram, keep your wheels at right angles to the track so that they don’t get stuck in the track
  5. Pedestrians should cross at designated crossings and intersections where available, and always look both ways.

Watch the latest safety video

Rules that apply around the light rail corridor

The rules for driving and riding along the tram tracks depend on whether the section of the light rail corridor is:

  1. Classified as a ‘tramway’,
  2. Marked with e ‘No Entry’ signs; or
  3. Mixed running (i.e. trams share the traffic lane with other vehicles).

 

Tram only

Tramways

Tramways are defined by:

  • 'Tram Only' signs – displaying a tram icon and the word ‘ONLY’; and
  • Two continuous yellow lines or a structure (e.g. a kerb) beside the tram tracks.

Drivers, bicycle riders and motorcycle riders are not permitted to:

  • Drive or ride in a tramway, unless it is necessary to avoid an obstruction/hazard
  • Stop in a tramway.

‘No Entry’ signs

‘No Entry’ signs, with exceptions for authorised vehicles, are installed along some sections of the light rail corridor where limited vehicle access is required.

Any driver, motorcycle or bicycle rider who has not been authorised is not permitted to enter this area.

Mixed Running

If there are no signs or lane markings along a section of the light rail corridor, trams and other vehicles can share a lane.

Normal road rules apply to all road users in these sections.

Staying safe around the light rail

Pedestrians

  • Take extra care around trams and tram tracks - remember trams can’t always see you
  • Don’t cross directly behind a tram as other road users may not be able to see you
  • Cross at designated pedestrian crossings where available
  • Don't be distracted by mobile phones, and remove headphones before crossing the road
  • Always look left and right, and check twice for trams before you cross the road.

Bicycle riders

  • Take extra care around trams and tram tracks - remember trams can’t always see you
  • If you need to ride across tram tracks, keep your wheels at right angles to the track so that they don’t get stuck in the track
  • Make yourself visible by wearing bright, light or reflective clothing
  • Look out for other road users, particularly in shared zones or on shared paths, and avoid making sudden movements
  • Give hand signals when changing lanes, or turning left or right
  • Always follow the road rules, including traffic signals, and ride with care.

Drivers and motorcycle riders

  • Never queue across tram tracks or intersections
  • Always follow traffic signals and signs
  • Never turn in front of a tram
  • Always follow the road rules and drive or ride with care.

For more information about light rail and safety on-board visit transportnsw.info

Road safety review - Newcastle light rail

On the evening of 10 July 2019, a local cyclist lost his life in a crash at the intersection of Scott and Pacific Streets Newcastle. The Centre for Road Safety and Maritime Safety recently completed a Road safety review (PDF, 1.2Mb) of the mixed-running section of the Newcastle Light Rail network.

The review was carried out in consultation with Transport for NSW stakeholders, the operator of the Newcastle Light Rail, Keolis Downer, the City of Newcastle Council, and the NSW Police Force.

The review was conducted to determine appropriate measures needed to help reduce the risks to cyclists in the mixed running section - a mixed running alignment is where a tram shares the travel lane with general traffic and cyclists.

The review examined a wide range of data including crash statistics, road user behaviour and road safety treatments, and identified eight actions to improve bicycle rider safety.

The actions recommend TfNSW prohibit cyclists from riding in the mixed running section, and call for TfNSW to work with the City of Newcastle Council to provide suitable alternative paths for cyclists as soon as possible. These alternative paths should be communicated to cyclists in Newcastle and the wider community.

While Newcastle is the only light rail network in NSW with mixed running, the risks identified in the review and subsequent mitigation strategies are being shared with other networks/operators to ensure consistent environments across the NSW network.