DMA992, even if you drive a Mercedes, you have to stop for tram passengers

Even if you drive a Mercedes, you have to stop for tram passengers.

You must stop level with the rear of a tram at a tram stop until the doors close and passengers have cleared the road, you may then proceed but must not exceed 10km/h while passing the tram.

Time: about 9:10pm, last night.
Location: Chapel Street, South Yarra, corner of Toorak Road, southbound on tram route 79 — along with the adjacent eastbound route 8 stop, one of the few stops I can think of where tram passengers have to negotiate two lanes of traffic to get to the kerb.

I wouldn’t say I or anybody else was in mortal danger here. But the potential is there. It’s hard to say if the Mercedes driver didn’t know the rules, or wilfully ignored them.

It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that it’s simply easier to forget to stop when you’re not in the lane immediate adjacent to the tram — not that that’s a valid excuse — especially as the presence of all those people crossing the road to board should have prompted her.

One can only hope that stops like this are on the priority list for upgrades to platform stops which would remove this threat.

(Why did I have the camera running? Well something like this wasn’t too hard to predict; a few minutes beforehand, I tweeted: On a 79. Will shortly risk Death By Careless Motorist by alighting at Toorak Road, where IIRC there’s two lanes of traffic plus tram’s lane.)

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.

12 replies on “DMA992, even if you drive a Mercedes, you have to stop for tram passengers”

At the newer tram stops (that look like Safety zones) I can understand motorists doing that. But that guy should have stopped well before the tram and waited until it departed.

I had a classic a night or two ago. The 16 tram pulled up southbound at the corner of Toorak Rd and Glenferrie, behind two cars waiting to turn right – so a few metres short of the actual intersection. Opened doors, and a driver in her early sixties just keeps going (slowly)…. I stepped out, the car keeps going… open hand slap on window, “STOP – it’s a tram stop”…. she rolls down the window, still rolling, and points at the tram stop 15m ahead and says – ‘ the tram stop is up there’!!!
Given the trams are 20m long, I’m pretty sure the driver isn’t going to stop 3 times, with each set of doors immediately next to the actual tram stop post – and the rules are to stop if the tram doors open.
Bring back TramCam and issue some infringements, and watch the frequency of this plummet.

I did this once. I hadn’t lived in Melbourne for long, and lived in the tramless outer suburbs, so didn’t yet know how to drive around trams.

I can’t believe they don’t install cameras. It’d be a great revenue raising exercise. I’ve seen it so many times I’ve lost count, almost been a victim of it on several occasions, and actually witnessed someone who got hit by a car (though no serious injuries) on Swanston Street of all places. All it says to me is that no members of Parliament ever catch a tram for anything except photo ops.

As for the tram stop at Parliament Station, it’s a death trap waiting to happen.

@Nathan, I think the tram stop at Parliament is better in many respects than many (most?) suburban stops – at least it’s clear something is going on, whereas for many suburban stops there’s just the post in the nature strip. At least at Parliament there’s ‘Keep Clear’ markings (albeit widely ignored), reflective posts, the raised section that acts something like a speed bump, and lots of activity (causing most to slow down a bit regardless).
It’s the tram stops motorists ‘didn’t see’ (I’m guessing the 20 tonne tram beside them wasn’t enough of a hint) that are the worst.

I’ve nearly been hit by car going past a stationary tram. As I stepped off the tram, she was rolling past and I slammed my hand on the bonnet as she was about to take me out. This was after the law was changed to compulsory stopping. But when I yelled at her afterwards, she proceeded to say it was MY fault that I stepped off the tram and should have waited for her to pass. She was also on the phone at the time. I had my keys in my hand when i hit the bonnet, and subsequently scratched the front of the bonnet, not badly mind you. She decided to yell at me about this as well. By some happy coincidence, a couple of police on foot patrol came around the corner (yes they still occasionally patrol on foot believe it or not) and proceeded to take a statements. She ended up being fined for mobile phone use, failing to stop behind a stationary tram, and driving on a suspended licence. Karma.

Anyway, all trams should be fitted with camera to detect these idiots. The excuse i didn’t see the tram stop, or the passengers just doesn’t cut it. The cost of the cameras would be well and truly paid for in a couple of years of operation and it would make it much safer for tram users.

Mind you my other pet hate is drivers who try to pull up beside the tram before the doors open and then block the door so no one can get out of the door unless they are a gymnast.

Rant Over. phew

The worst one for me is where the 59 tram turns from Pascoe Vale Rd into Fletcher St in Essendon. I can’t count the number of times I have seen cars trying to sneak round in front of the tram as it is turning. That number is only exceeded by the number that just sail straight past the stationary tram when the doors are open. Like @Dave says its a poor excuse to say “I didn’t see it” when it’s 30metres long and weighs in at 20 tonnes or more.

I have asked Victoria Police many times how I can report this sort of behaviour. Alas, they never reply to tweets.

With the advent of Smart Phones, we don’t need cameras on trams anymore. Why can’t we have an app like the EPA app for reporting traffic infringements like failing to stop when trams open their doors. Fill in details of rego, car make and model, time, date and place and hit send – easy! No different to taking a statement. Just as EPA infringement notices are highly effective in changing behaviour, I’m willing to bet it would have a similar effect on drivers who “don’t see” the open tram door.

When I was young(er), a friend walked over the car that had stopped over the pedestrian crossing area. Still have the image in my mind. It was great.

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