Police target motorists and pedestrians on tram-track rules

20 Mar
Motorists and pedestrians are urged to watch out for trams. Pictures: Laura Cocks

Motorists and pedestrians are urged to watch out for trams. Pictures: Laura Cocks

By Laura Cocks, Bond University Journalism Student

Beat and bicycle police will patrol Surfers Paradise for the next six weeks as part of an operation to promote public safety around the new trams.

Surfers Paradise police launched Operation Safe Tracks on March 10 to coincide with the testing of the light rail system in the precinct.

Senior Sergeant Lavonda Maloy said the target of the operation was to make people conscious of trams and not walk or park on the rails.

trams3“The objectives of Operation Safe Tracks are aimed at ensuring that residents and visitors to Surfers Paradise are aware of the trams operating and their movements,” she said.

The operation follows increased reportage of cars parking and driving on the tram tracks.

An elderly woman became stuck when she drove her car onto the Sundale bridge tracks last Thursday. A crane had to be used to remove the car.

Snr Sgt Maloy said people parking and driving on the tracks were only part of the issues police have been facing.

“There have been vehicles making unauthorised U-turns at traffic lights, pedestrians not crossing at the marked crossings and also pedestrians not obeying the traffic signals,” she said.

However Snr Sgt Maloy was confident that through educating the public the offences would stop.

“Through public education and awareness any dangers that are currently present with the light rail should disappear,” she said.

“It’s important for the public to know to keep the tracks clear, watch for trams and never park, walk, cycle, drive or queue along the tracks.”

Surfers Paradise Alliance representative Mike Winlaw agreed it was important police addressed these problems now.

“Public education is a really important part of this program. We’ve seen incidents in the past weeks and particularly yesterday [with the Sundale accident] where people needed to understand the new rules,” he said.

“I don’t see it being a problem in the future because the trams will be running and so the vehicles will have to move. If people keep parking on the tracks the owners will probably be getting large fines.”

In order to promote the public safety program police have been working with G:LinQ, said Snr Sgt Maloy.

“We are working closing with G:LinQ to ensure the roll out of the trams is safe for visitors and residents of Surfers. We both have a duty to make sure that people are safe around the trams,” she said.

The G:LinQ safety campaign has included more than 300,000 safety brochures delivered to letterboxes and school presentations to more than 10,000 students in 2013.

“There will be no changes to the road rules. However, people will have to adjust to sharing the road with trams,” said Snr Sgt Maloy.

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