Streetcars can be dangerous because they’re heavy and unable to stop quickly. Since they’re on tracks, they can’t swerve to avoid accidents, either.
But because public transit still remains one of the safest ways to get around, streetcar safety can be easily overlooked. So whether you’re a passenger, driver or cyclist, take a look at these tips for safely navigating in and around these popular vehicles.
Entering a streetcar
Most streetcar tracks run along mixed-traffic roads. This means passengers are usually dealing with a combination of cars, cyclists and other pedestrians. Some roads have a dedicated median with raised curbs, which allows for more efficient service. But these special areas can still be unsafe.
Here are some things to keep in mind when hopping on the streetcar:
Wait on the sidewalk or raised median: Avoid the urge to step out onto the road, until the streetcar doors open to let you in.
Look both ways: Always check both ways before stepping forward. Motorists and cyclists may not see you, and can catch you off guard if you’re not paying attention.
Keep accessibility entrances free: Many newer streetcars are equipped with accessibility ramps. Unless you have a mobility issue, avoid using these designated entry points.
Standing inside the streetcar
Once you’re on the streetcar, you may not be lucky enough to get a seat. Sudden shifts can throw you off balance and can cause injuries. Always hold onto a safety pole to ground yourself, while keeping these other tips in mind:
Stand behind the white line and stay clear of the doors
Make sure bags and parcels don’t become tripping hazards
Never stick your arms or head out the window
Keep children close so you don’t become separated