Passenger Rail, Safety, Standards & Regulation

Section of Newcastle tramline closed to cyclists after fatality

Cyclists have been banned from a 340-metre shared section of Newcastle’s tramline after a man died after falling from his bike there in July.

Danny Egan, a 51-year-old father of three, died after falling from his bike while crossing light rail tracks at the intersection of Scott and Pacific streets in the city’s east, on the evening of July 10, 2019.

A new report following the fatal incident has found cyclists travelling westbound along Scott Street are required, at the intersection in question, to cross four separate tracks at an acute angle, found to be below the internationally recognised 60 degree minimum.

This creates a heightened risk of cyclists’ wheels getting stuck in the tram tracks themselves – a risk which was identified prior to Egan’s death, but was not considered as severe as the post-incident report found it to be.

The independent review just completed found the risk to cyclists along the section of shared track on Scott Street to be ‘intolerable’, higher than the ‘medium’ or ‘high’ assessment made in prior audits.

Transport minister Andrew Constance said the state government would adopt all eight recommendations made in the review, which was conducted by Transport for NSW.

“We extend our sincere condolences to Danny’s wife and to his three children,” Constance said. “While NSW Police are investigating the circumstances around the incident and will provide a report to the Coroner, Transport for NSW has also conducted a review to see what can be done to improve safety. The NSW Government will adopt all eight recommendations made in the review.”

Following the report’s release on October 15, cyclists are no longer allowed to access the 340-metre mixed running section of the Newcastle tramline along Scott Street as of October 16.

“Permanent signage will also be installed overnight to advise cyclists not to ride in that section of the light rail route,” Centre for Road Safety executive director Bernard Carlon said.

Transport for NSW will now continue work with the City of Newcastle to identify an appropriate east-west cycle route through the city.

New warning signage and supporting road markings will be installed along the light rail network to assist bike riders to cross the tracks at a safe angle. Transport for NSW will also investigate new technologies to trial, which could in future help protect cyclists along the network.