Understanding safety

With light rail services starting soon, now is the time for us to understand how to be safe around light rail vehicles.

There are new signs, traffic lights and road markings across the city centre, which show how motorists, cyclists and pedestrians should behave around light rail vehicles and tracks.

In Newcastle, a 40km/h speed limit will be in place for all vehicles, including trams, on Hunter and Scott streets between Worth Place and Telford Street. Sticking to the rules and being aware of your surroundings will help you stay safe.

Light rail will consist of two on-road sections. For the most part light rail will run in its own dedicated lane known as a tramway. Drivers (except drivers of trams, tram recovery vehicles and public buses) are not allowed to drive on a tramway unless avoiding an obstacle. Tramways will run across the entire alignment with the exception of Scott Street between Newcomen and Pacific streets.

There will also be a section of mixed running on Scott Street, between Newcomen and Pacific streets. In this section, light rail vehicles and other road users share a lane. Road users are generally required to treat a tram as any other vehicle - this means no overtaking, no U-turns and obeying all traffic signs and signals.

Visit one of our pop-up events to find out more about being safe around light rail.

Useful links

Safety for pedestrians

  • Only cross at designated pedestrian crossings
  • Always look both ways before crossing at intersections and crossings. Light rail vehicles can approach from either direction and at any time
  • Pay attention and stay alert at all times. Light rail vehicles are large and move quietly
  • Distractions such as using your phone and wearing earphones can put you at risk
  • Take care when pushing a pram or a wheelchair, and cross the track at a right angle to make sure wheels don’t get stuck in the track
  • The tracks are smooth and in wet weather the rail surface at crossings may be slippery

Safety for drivers

  • Obey all traffic lights and road signs
  • Do not drive on a tramway unless you're avoiding an obstacle on the road. If you find yourself in the path of an approaching light rail vehicle, move out of the way as soon as you can do so safely
  • Never drive, park or stop in a tramway or on the light rail tracks
  • In the mixed running section, treat light rail vehicles like any other vehicle under the road rules
  • Remember that light rail vehicles take longer to come to a stop than cars and cannot swerve to avoid contact
  • Look both ways when crossing the tracks at intersections, and do not drive across the tracks unless the path ahead is clear
  • Light rail vehicles are wider than the tracks. Leave plenty of room as they approach
  • Never queue across the tracks at intersections

Safety for cyclists

  • When riding alongside trams, always keep a safe distance
  • Keep clear and do not ride on a tramway at any time
  • When riding in the mixed running section, look out for the tracks on the road and avoid riding immediately next to the light rail track. Your wheels may get caught in the rail groove
  • When crossing the tracks, always use designated crossings and intersections and make sure you ride across the tracks at a right angle to avoid your wheels getting stuck
  • Ride carefully in wet weather as tracks may be slippery
  • Consider using the existing off-road cycleway along Newcastle foreshore