The Minister for Transport has admitted that changes to the Newcastle Light Rail Line are needed following the tragic death of renowned cyclist Danny Egan.
In responses to Supplementary Budget Estimate questions put by the NSW Opposition, Minister Constance acknowledged that the Government conducted a review of safety measures and that:
“While the crash that prompted this safety review was the first recorded cyclist crash along the mixed running alignment, it was evident throughout this review that road safety risks to cyclists did exist throughout the section.
The answers follow a fiery hearing in June, where Minister Constance suggested cyclists themselves were to blame for accidents along light rail routes.
In his Supplementary answers, Minister Constance acknowledged that the review applies for all light rail projects and that recommendations for improvements are under consideration by Transport for NSW.
However this review was not undertaken until after the death of Mr Egan in July, despite multiple cyclists being seriously injured along the same section of track in prior months.
The review and its recommendations need to be released immediately, before another person is hurt.
The Minister also confirmed that updated signage for cyclists and pavement line marking work in Newcastle is being “finalised and scheduled to be installed in coming months.”
Quotes attributable to Jo Haylen, Shadow Minister for Active Transport
“This is an extraordinary admission from the Minister that he failed to adequately protect Newcastle cyclists.
“He is backtracking on his previous statement that cyclists had to pretty much fend for themselves.
“Minister Constance should immediately release the full report of the safety review and explain why these measures weren’t put in place from the beginning.
“Given these recommendations will also apply to the CBD and Eastern Suburbs Light Rail, we need to see them now so the community can have every confidence the safest measures have been put in place before Sydney-siders are riding trams down George Street.”
Quotes attributable to Tim Crakanthorp MP, Member for Newcastle
“Newcastle residents deserve to know when the Minister and his Department first knew there were safety problems along the light rail route.
“This Government was told over and over again that there were issues - the Minister needs to explain why it has taken the death of a cyclist for safety to be improved.
“The full report and its recommendations need to be released and implemented now.”