04/24/2013

Roads are more dangerous than air, sea or rail transport

The sight of the firemen cutting a car into pieces to extract an injured car driver reminded me that road travel is always potentially dangerous.


20130424_114958[1].jpgIt was on the tram 14 route from Bernex to Geneva, just before midday today, 24 April, that a car travelling towards Geneva and wanting to turn left just before Onex Town Hall, appeared not to have seen a tram coming up behind it. This was on one of those roundabouts where the tram tracks go through the middle of the roundabout. There are traffic lights to indicate that a tram is approaching the roundabout, and they will turn red when the tram is near there.

In the absence of an official investigation there would seem to be some likely explanations for the car driver not noticing the tram coming up behind. Perhaps he simply did not see the (red) lights, but perhaps a tram had just crossed in the opposite direction, making him anticipate the lights turning back to flashing orange. Algernatively, perhaps he saw a tram coming in this opposite direction and thought that he had just enough time to cross before it arrived.

There are quite a few of this type of tram-crossing roundabout, and I am always wary about them. It seems possible that the larger roundabouts give more time for assessing the situation (because it is then like crossing the tram tracks at right angles), but that is pure speculation.

Is there anything that can be done to lessen this type of danger? More obvious and insistent flashing lights? A loud noise to accompany the lights? A sleeping policeman to slow the car down before crossing the tram track? Barriers that descend as on some railway lines? Something else?

20130424_121725[1].jpgWhatever it is, I wish a complete and speedy recovery to the driver, especially having noticed (from the emptied contents of the car) that he is, like myself, a senior golfer. I also hope that the wattman (tram driver) will not have sleepless nights because of the accident: a tram cannot take avoiding action.

Conclusion, especially for all seniors and all my golfing friends: never be in a hurry, as a moment of inattention can be the cause of a long and painful recovery from an ensuing accident.

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