Melbourne News and events

Thoughts from the last few days

Given how their parliament occasionally carries-on, I wonder if the Taiwanese politicians campaigned on how good they are at hand-to-hand combat?

That level crossing smash near Geelong is tragic, and the government should do more on improving crossing conditions. But one radio jock was almost making excuses for the car driver, not just missing the Stop sign, the Railway Crossing sign and the rumble strips, but also not noticing the express train roaring down the line. Would the same apply if it had been a road intersection, rather than a level crossing, and the car had smashed into a B-double?

Fancy a bit of gaming on a Thursday night? Turns out you can present a valid Metcard at ACMI’s Game On (which I’m telling you, is excellent), and get in for the concession rate of $10.

I frequently use lifts that have two lights above the doors, one on top of the other. How is it that so many visitors to that building can’t figure out that when the top light goes on, the arriving lift is going up, and when the bottom light goes on, it’s going down?

Maybe I need to re-arrange the cards in my wallet. I’m concerned that the garish black and gold of my ATM card may be clashing with the green and yellow of my Medicare card.

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 “Thoughts from the last few days”

Did you hear the interview between Kosky and Harmer? Harmer said something like but if you got a car full of noisy kids or loud music playing…… Rather illustrates a point doesn’t it. These quiet road, train v car incidents, involving local people must surely be part complacency too.

That was precisely the interview I was thinking of, yes. If you’re that distracted that you can’t spot/hear rumble strips, 3 or 4 signs (which judging from the TV footage is how many appeared to be there), and the actual train, nothing’s going to prompt you to stop.

I heard the interview too; the one point that no-one seems to make, however, is that train passengers need to be protected from careless drivers. You can yell “stop, look, listen!” until the cows come home, but unfortunately, some people just won’t do that. Those callers to the ABC after the interview who were claiming the driver had no-one but herself to blame clearly didn’t remember that in the Kerang crash, eleven completely innocent people died.

That’s why I would like to see gates at all level crossings. I can’t believe that they’re paying several hundred thousand for each gate; surely the smaller systems that they use for the light-rail to Port Melbourne would be cheaper, and would suffice for most low-traffic country roads? Just how hard is it to make electronics that can detect the presence of a train, anyway?

It is surprising that many railroad crossings in Australia would have no lights, bells, or barriers that come down for a passing train. This is standard for practically all level railroad crossings in the USA.

People do still get killed here but it is usually their own stupidity that causes the accident. They either try to cross the tracks as the arms are coming down with the flashing lights on and the bell ringing or they stop on the tracks waiting for a red traffic light instead of stopping well back from the tracks. They actually had to put a sign along with a yellow flashing light that says “do not stop on tracks” by the crossings in my area.

I remember one very bad accident involving a train, a fuel tanker truck stuck on the tracks in traffic with 8,000 gallons (about 12,000 liters)of gasoline (petrol) and about 6 or 7 cars that were incinerated in the spray of fuel and the gigantic explosion and fireball that followed. I think about 10 or 11 people died and all that was left was some charred bones and the shell of the cars and the fuel tanker.

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