GOLD Coasters are being warned to prepare for more tram carnage and injuries when passengers start boarding the G:link from next month.
If Australia’s tram capital is anything to go by, the Gold Coast’s problems are only just beginning.
There are more than two smashes a day on average between trams and vehicles in Melbourne, despite trams having operated continuously in the city since 1884.
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And again, the risky drivers performing illegal U-turns are mostly to blame.
The Age reports there were 894 car-on-tram collisions in 2012, with 253 smashes recorded along one street in the past four years alone, which prompted the Victorian government to urge motorists to take more care around trams.
On the Gold Coast, trams are not even fully operational and yet there have already been a number of concerning incidents.
As a result, every intersection along the entire 13km Gold Coast light rail track is now being reviewed – just weeks before passenger services are scheduled to begin.
Furthermore, around 880 people were injured on Melbourne’s tram network in 2012 – the majority a direct result of drivers being forced to apply the emergency brakes.
Still in the second stage of testing, G:link trams have already been forced to abruptly apply the brakes on at least three occasions.
In February, a passenger-less testing tram slammed into a white Jeep performing an illegal U-turn on Queen Street in Southport.
The force of the impact was so strong, it badly dented the tram’s front carriage and shattered its windows.
No one was injured, but it could have been a completely different story if the tram was carrying passengers.
The real test will come next month when passengers start to board the 14 trams, capable of carrying up to 309 people, for the first time.
When a tram full of passengers is forced to hit the brakes or is involved in a collision, it is likely to result in falls and injuries on board.
Locals and visitors are being encouraged to make themselves familiar with the new mode of transport and exercise caution and common sense when interacting with the light rail.
– TIMELINE OF TRAM MISHAPS ON THE GOLD COAST –
JANUARY 24: An 88-year-old man was the first to collide with a Gold Coast G:link tram at the intersection of Nerang and Queen Street in Southport. It’s alleged the car was in the middle of making an illegal U-turn when it was T-boned by the tram. No one was injured and the 88-year-old male driver of the Honda Accord was issued with an $88 fine and infringement notice.
FEBRUARY 19: A 22-year-old woman was the second to collide with a Gold Coast G:link tram at a set of traffic lights on Queen Street in Southport. It’s alleged she was also performing an illegal U-turn when the tram T-boned her white Jeep – causing an estimated $5000 damage to the front tram carriage. No one was injured and the 22-year-old driver of the Jeep was issued with an $88 fine.
FEBRUARY 22: A 70-year-old woman trips on a tram line at the intersection of Scarborough and Lawson Streets in Southport. She was taken to hospital with minor injuries after hitting her head. Testing trams approaching from both directions were stopped.
MARCH 13: An 88-year-old woman was the first to drive along the light rail corridor in Southport and become wedged in the tram tracks on Sundale Bridge in Southport after taking a wrong turn at the Ada Bell and Queen Street intersection. A crane was used to remove the vehicle and the driver was not fined. No one was injured.
MAY 2: Another Gold Coaster drives along tram lines in Southport after taking a wrong turn at the Ada Bell and Queen Street intersection. A traffic controller managed to stop the car just 20 metres short of going over Sundale Bridge. He took over control of the car which was blocking the path of an oncoming tram and drove the occupants safely off the tracks.
MAY 12: A 70-year-old man was the second to drive along the light rail corridor in Southport and become wedged in the tram tracks on Sundale Bridge in Southport after taking a wrong turn at the Ada Bell and Queen Street intersection. A crane was used to remove the car and the driver was not fined. No one was injured. It’s the fourth time a car has entered the tracks from the Ada Bell and Queen Street intersection.
MAY 16: A ‘P’ plate driver was the third person to collide with a tram – this time on Parklands Drive outside the Gold Coast University Hospital. It’s alleged the young female driver mistook a green light and turned right on a red arrow, slamming into the tram causing minor damage and ripping a panel from the side of the front carriage. No one was injured.
MAY 21: Another Gold Coast driver takes a wrong turn and mounts the light rail tracks at the Ada Bell Way crossing in Southport. A traffic controller managed to stop the vehicle short of driving over the Sundale Bridge and was able to drive the occupants safely off the tracks.