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.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

8 replies on “Oblivious”

“Last night I switched on my iPod on the train, on random play.”

Is there any other way to listen to an iPod? I’ve had mine for nearly 12 months and it has never been off random.

One night after work when I was walking to my car I witnessed what could have been a very nasty pedestrian squish – a couple of students were walking along the footpath near the moat (La Trobe Uni Bundoora campus, for those who know it). They appeared to be about to step off the curb as the bus came around the bend (not a blind corner either). The bus driver saw the girl. Fortunately, the girl saw the bus. The bus driver crossed himself as she stopped short of stepping off the curb. Phew! Open your eyes people!!!

*shakes head here* Like getting run over isn’t a real possibility? Geez….I quit running for buses/trams/trains when I heard the story of a friends daughter. Running for a bus, she stepped in a hole and broke her ankle so badly it was in a cast for months and she’s never been right since. Was it worth it? I think not. So, yes, people, do take care out there. A moments action or inaction could cost you your life or a limb or mobility for the foreseeable future.

Naaah, none of this “take care people” rubbish!
It’s jsut natural selection at work!

run ’em over I say!


I think they should fine her (for being stupid, if nothing else!!). The fine would have to be large enough to hurt, though. ($1000, $2000, $5000??)

Is it against the law to walk on the tram rails?? IF not, they should be!

j :)

I narrowly avaoided a pedestrian incident on Friday morning. I was driving my usual route to work, which takes me down Ackland St. This woman was looking to cross the road, where the Street is widest (in front of the Vineyard) and was standing about 1m from the kerb. She looked and saw me, then looked thother way, then looked in my direction again (I was all of 10m away by this time and travelling about 40KPH) and proceeded to cross the road. With horn blaring, I ended up having to swerve into the other lane to avoid her as she was more than half way across the lane. This idiot also gave me no reaction: does she do it all the time? What kind of selfish idiot looks at a moving car and willfully crosses in front of it? It would have left me in poo if I’d have hit her and would have done her no good also. Staggering.


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