Bicycle NSW has been working to try and make light rail crossings safer since March 2019, and now we need your help.
This work has included researching and writing about the issue, working with the government advising and providing feedback on signage and infrastructure development.
We understood that crossing light rail tracks could present a hazard for people riding bikes, using wheelchairs and prams. If wheels become trapped in the track, it could cause crashes or trap someone in the path of an oncoming tram.
Back in early April we learnt about SafeRails and shared information about this technology with government, asking that it be considered. Unfortunately since then injuries in Newcastle did not seem to prompt action, and on Wednesday the 10th of July Danny Egan died following a crash at the intersection of Pacific and Scott Streets where it is not possible to cross tracks at 90 degrees.
Bicycle NSW is determined to protect riders, and we reached out to the SafeRails inventors Roderick and Ward, who agreed in principle to an Australian trial if a manufacturer could be found. Our efforts were acknowledged by The Hon. Peter Primrose MP in budget estimates on Friday the 30th of August (transcript P. 28).
The Newcastle light rail network is operational, but Sydney is still in a testing phase, providing an ideal opportunity to test SafeRails.
“We aren’t material scientists but we figured if we could find the solution including a manufacturer, NSW Transport has the opportunity to test SafeRails before the light rail carries passengers,” said General Manager of Public Affairs, Bastien Wallace.
“We’ve spent a lot of time contacting companies, discussing the properties of plastics, and manufacturing processes,” said Bastien.
Bicycle NSW is keen to hear from any Australian manufacturer who can produce plastic products via the process of extrusion.
“For many of our members this won’t mean much, but we’re encouraging you to share this widely, to talk to your friends in industry, and help us make things better for bike riders,” said Bastien.
The good news for any manufacturer taking this project on, is that light rail is increasing in NSW, and there are market opportunities across Australia.