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 drivers, cyclists and pedestrians should behave around light rail vehicles and tracks.

In Newcastle, a 40km/h speed limit is in place for all vehicles, including light rail, 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.

For most of Hunter and Scott streets light rail runs in its own dedicated lane known as a tramway. Drivers (except drivers of light rail vehicles, light rail recovery vehicles and public buses) are not allowed to drive on a tramway unless avoiding an obstacle.

There is also a mixed running section 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 light rail as any other large vehicle.

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

Download the light rail safety brochure to read important safety information for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

Useful links

Safety for pedestrians

  • Light rail vehicles move quietly. Avoid distractions like mobile devices and earphones so you can pay attention and stay alert
  • Only cross at pedestrian crossings and always look both ways. Light rail vehicles can approach from either direction and at any time
  • Access light rail stops via the designated entry. Never short cut over the tracks
  • Remember light rail drivers have blind spots. Never assume the driver has seen you
  • Pram and wheelchair wheels can catch in the tracks. Slow down before crossing and try to cross at a right angle
  • Use caution in wet weather as tracks and road markings may be slippery
  • Never run for a tram. Another one will be along shortly

Safety for drivers

  • Obey all traffic lights and road signs
  • Remember light rail vehicles take longer to stop than cars and can't swerve to avoid a collision
  • Don't drive on a tramway unless avoiding an obstacle such as a broken down vehicle. Using the tramway to pass slow moving vehicles or cyclists is not permitted
  • Always give cyclists a metre when passing. If this isn't possible, stay behind until safe to pass
  • Never park or stop in a tramway or on the tracks
  • Treat light rail vehicles like any other large vehicle under the road rules
  • Light rail vehicles are wide so please leave plenty of room 
  • Never queue across intersections - if in doubt, don't go out

Safety for cyclists

  • Take care near tracks, wheels can catch in the tracks or can slip and cause a fall. Slow down before crossing the tracks at intersections and try to cross at a right angle
  • Use caution in wet weather as tracks and road markings may be slippery
  • Remember light rail drivers have blind spots. Never assume the driver has seen you
  • Don't ride on a tramway unless avoiding an obstacle such as a broken down vehicle
  • Take the lane - ride in the centre of the lane to ensure approaching drivers can see you
  • Always keep a safe distance from light rail vehicles
  • When crossing the road, always use designated pedestrian crossings and dismount
  • Consider using the existing off-road cycleway along Newcastle foreshore