Man hit by Canberra tram while walking through intersection
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Man hit by Canberra tram while walking through intersection

A man is in a stable condition after he was hit and injured by a tram undergoing testing on Canberra's light rail tracks, about a month out from the network's planned start date.

An ACT government spokeswoman said initial investigations suggested the pedestrian had stepped in front of the light rail vehicle against a red signal while wearing headphones.

Emergency services at the scene of a collision between a tram and a pedestrian in Canberra on Saturday morning.

Emergency services at the scene of a collision between a tram and a pedestrian in Canberra on Saturday morning.Credit:Elesa Kurtz

Firefighters and paramedics responded to the incident, which happened at the intersection of Northbourne Avenue with Barry Drive and Cooyong Street, at 7.47am on Saturday.

An Emergency Services Agency spokesman said the man suffered upper body injuries and injuries to both legs.

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The man remained conscious after the collision and was not trapped under the tram. He was taken to Canberra Hospital in a stable condition.

The ACT government spokeswoman said the tram driver applied the emergency brakes and an initial review of the incident suggested emergency protocols "worked well and were followed".

Emergency services tend to a pedestrian after they were hit by a tram on Canberra's light rail network.

Emergency services tend to a pedestrian after they were hit by a tram on Canberra's light rail network.Credit:Katie Burgess

"Operations and testing were immediately halted following the incident, but resumed following viewing of the incident when operators were confident of safety along the route," she said.

Trams are currently being tested on the light rail line between Gungahlin and the city, with stage one of the network expected to start taking passengers on a Saturday some time in April.

After Saturday morning's collision, a large crack was visible in the windshield of the tram involved.

Sharna Thompson, a window washer who witnessed the incident, said it left her feeling shocked.

"Out of the corner of my eye, I saw it happen," she said.

"I turned around and [the man] was on the ground.

"He'd hit the windscreen, but I'm not actually sure what caused [the collision]."

Ms Thompson said she hadn't seen any near misses involving trams while washing windows at the intersection where the crash happened.

Emergency services at the scene of a collision between a tram and a pedestrian in Canberra on Saturday morning.

Emergency services at the scene of a collision between a tram and a pedestrian in Canberra on Saturday morning.Credit:Elesa Kurtz

She said the tram driver had reversed the vehicle after the collision and alerted emergency services.

Speed limits for light rail vehicles match the limits on the roads adjacent to the tracks, up to a maximum of 70 kilometres an hour.

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Northbourne Avenue, which has a speed limit of 60, has the highest incidence of pedestrian collisions in the ACT. The Sunday Canberra Times reported in November that more than one in 10 of the territory's crashes involving pedestrians happen on Northbourne Avenue.

The ACT government spokeswoman urged all Canberrans to be aware of their surroundings and obey the road rules in the light rail corridor.

"Light rail vehicles are travelling the full length of the alignment between Gungahlin and the city at both day and night," she said.

"Light rail vehicles are quiet and large. It is important Canberrans pay attention near the light rail tracks."

In April 2018, Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris launched the "Rail Ready" light rail safety program, which included a video with tips for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers to stay safe around trams.

"If everyone follows the rules, we all stay safe," Ms Fitzharris said at the time.

The ACT government spokeswoman said the safety campaign had been "communicated to the community continuously" since it began.

"At every opportunity, the ACT government and Canberra Metro are reminding the Canberra community of the need to obey traffic rules and to be aware of your surroundings in the light rail corridor," she said on Saturday.

"We hope this morning’s incident serves as another reminder to Canberrans to pay attention when around light rail."

Blake Foden is a reporter at the Sunday Canberra Times. He has worked as a journalist in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

Katie Burgess is a reporter for the Canberra Times, covering ACT politics.

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