On Wednesday August 1st 2017 some important legislation covering a few practical elements for light rail operations, was passed in the ACT legislative Assembly. This regulatory update permits licensed car drivers to legally operate light rail vehicles. The Road Transport Reform (Light Rail) Legislation Amendment also extends third party insurance to light rail vehicles and passengers. In a sensible move, Segway riders are also now subject to drink driving legislation.
TCCS Minister Meegan Fitzharris’ office issued a press release with more detail:
Light rail on track for a safe and successful future
The first stage of reforms to the ACT’s road transport legislation to support the safe operation of light rail was today passed in the Legislative Assembly.
The Road Transport Reform (Light Rail) Legislation Amendment delivers legislation to support the safe operation of light rail vehicles in the Territory’s road environment through integration with the ACT’s road transport legislation and road rules.
Drivers of light rail vehicles will be required to hold a full car licence and be provided with extensive training on operating a light rail vehicle.
If a driver is detected breaking a road rule, such as running a red light or speeding, they can be issued with an infringement notice and face a fine and potentially lose their licence.
Light rail vehicles are also covered by the ACT’s compulsory third party insurance scheme, ensuring that a person involved in an accident with a light rail vehicle is treated the same as if the accident involved any other type of vehicle.
A driver of a light rail vehicle is subject to the same requirements applying to drivers of vehicles involved in an accident. A police officer can require the driver to be tested for alcohol and/or drugs.
The bill also subjects a user of a segway-type (‘personal mobility’) device to two drink driving laws: consuming alcohol while riding, and riding while intoxicated.
“This is a significant step forward in the delivery of a modern and sustainable public transport network in Canberra,” said Minister for Road Safety Shane Rattenbury.
Minister for Transport and City Services Meegan Fitzharris also welcomed this significant step in the light rail project.
“An integrated public transport network with both light rail and buses is the way of the future and an essential part of how cities operate,” Minister Fitzharris said.
“While the physical side of the project continues to develop in clear view of the community, having the legislation in place to ensure the network is convenient and safe is also crucial to the success of the project.”
The Public Transport Association of Canberra is the regions peak public transport lobby group. Their website is at ptcbr.org and a robust discussion on public transport and planning takes place at their Facebook page.
Membership in PTCBR is $20 a year for adults and $10 a year for any concession card holder.