The forgotten road rules when driving with public transport in Victoria
Motorists are being urged to ‘stop when the red lights flash’ at level crossings, but that’s not the only oft-forgotten road rule to remember when driving around trains, trams and buses.
Public transport is a vital part of Victoria's infrastrure, helping residents complete millions of journeys every year by train, tram or bus. Even if you're not a passenger, it's hard to avoid the state's large public transport network.
Knowing the rules around public transport in Victoria is integral for motorists as well as for pedestrians and cyclists. You might be surprised by some of the lesser known rules!
The dangers of level crossings
Melbourne’s level crossings have been in the spotlight quite a bit over the last few years, with more than half of them being removed to improve safety and reduce congestion.
But with train tracks crisscrossing our roads across the state, it’s not just urban Melburnians that need to be mindful of the motoring rules around trains and level crossings.
A survey conducted by the Department of Transport in 2022 showed that an estimated 370,000 motorists drove over regional level crossings without slowing down. In the five years leading up to 2022 there were 63 incidents reported at regional level crossings, including four serious collisions.
While regional residents may feel familiar with their local level crossings and their timetables, VicRoads is urging drivers to stop when the red lights flash at level crossings, no matter how well you think you might know them.
“Not knowing the rules around level crossings can put yourself and others at risk,” says James Williams, Head of Policy at RACV. “Drivers and pedestrians should never enter a level crossing if warning lights are flashing, warning bells are ringing or boom gates are closed, closing or in the process of opening.”
Failure to do so not only risks fines of up to $3,698 and the loss of four demerit points, it can also cost you your life and drastically impact the lives of train drivers, passengers, emergency services personnel, your family and local community.
“With around 75 per cent of RACV Members using public transport at least once a month it’s important motorists know the rules to keep the entire community safe.”