The Tram Transition: Sharing the Road Safely with Light Rail

June 10, 2014


Road Safety


Rebecca Earl

Trams have now been tested as a part of the Gold Coast's road network for several months, but it appears that motorists are still getting used to this new addition. Since their introduction, there have been multiple incidents where the safety of both motor vehicles and trams have been severely compromised. Seeing vehicles stuck on the tramlines is extremely concerning. That is why we are determined to help stop this problem in its tracks!

GoldLinQ released a safety video last year, which shares some key tips to staying safe around trams. 


The above video mainly focuses on passenger safety. Therefore, here at Smith's Lawyers, we have decided to provide some more tips for motorists to make the integration of trams to the Gold Coast as smooth as possible. Whilst their introduction has technically brought no change in the road rules, the following points should be emphasised.

Tips for driving safely alongside trams

  • Stay off the tracks. The City of the Gold Coast's website states that it is a road rule that "motor vehicles do not park or travel along the tracks (except when directed by traffic signs)" and that "motor vehicles should only drive over the tracks at intersections and when directed by traffic lights". This may seem obvious, but it has proven to be easier said than done for some motorists recently, who have found themselves stuck on the tram lines. Therefore, the tips below can also help ensure that these road rules are followed.
  • Read all road signs very carefully. It is reported that drivers are getting confused at intersections with tram lines, so it is imperative to constantly keep an eye out for all road signs. Furthermore, GoldLinQ CEO Phil Mumford recently said that “additional signage including a large ‘Wrong Way Go Back' sign will soon be installed in the area following an ongoing review of light rail intersections." So, be sure to look out for them in the future too.
  • Look out for road markings. It is said that "through coloured surface treatment, curbing and standard traffic control measures, drivers will be clearly made aware of the difference between road and tram tracks". Being on alert for these changes in the road surface should help keep drivers off the tracks.
  • Remember that trams have right of way.  According to GoldLinQ's website, traffic lights are also being "programmed to give priority to trams at a number of road junctions along the corridor."

When keeping all of these tips in mind, cars and trams should be able to travel alongside one another without any hassles. If you have any feedback about safety concerns with the introduction of light rail on the Gold Coast, feel free to let us know below!

Rebecca Earl

Rebecca Earl is a UQ Law Graduate and has experience in government and law firm positions.