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VIDEO: Stay safe by staying alert around Newcastle light rail

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Newcastle Transport is sending a timely reminder to Novocastrians to stay alert and aware around the light rail network.

To kickstart Rail Safety Week, from 8 August, the organisation has released CCTV vision – showing a number of close calls by road users and pedestrians – to raise awareness around light rail safety in the city.

Keolis Downer Hunter general manager Emmanuel Genlot said drivers frequently reported motorists running red lights at Stewart Avenue and Steel Street.

People stepping out in front of trams was another major issue, too.

“It’s scary to watch the CCTV footage and see the dangerous and unpredictable behaviours of Newcastle’s road users and pedestrians,” he said.

“It is lucky these incidents occurred when the trams were travelling slower either departing or approaching stops. 

“If they were going any faster, the endings could have been very different.

“In particular, we are seeing increased instances of pedestrians, distracted by mobile phones and headphones, stepping out into the path of light rail vehicles.

“Our tram drivers do a great job in anticipating dangers.

“But, there are still instances when the emergency brake needs to be applied, at least once every week, to avoid a collision which affects everyone on board.”

Mr Genlot said it was important for the community to know their actions could have a flow-on effect to the tram driver as well as impact the customer on board.

“This week is about prompting people to be light rail safe,” he added.

“For motorists, it is as simple as following the road rules and paying attention when behind the wheel.

“For pedestrians, only cross at the designated crossings and when the light is green.

“So, put your phone away to make sure you are alert to your surroundings.

“Cyclists should keep a safe distance from trams and not ride along the tram tracks.”

The familiar “Be aware the rhino” campaign will run throughout Rail Safety Week to remind motorists, pedestrians and customers to stay alert around Newcastle’s light rail.

Activations will also take place at Newcastle Interchange to engage with customers around safety.

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