Metrolink driver fined for not driving with due care and attention

A driver on Manchester Metrolink was this week fined £526 (including costs) after admitting to a charge of driving without due care and attention earlier this year. The charge related to an incident on 14th May when a tram struck a pensioner having just left Market Street tramstop, the pensioner spent a week in hospital as a result of his injuries. Colin Crawshaw pleaded guilty to the charge in what was described as a momentary lapse with magistrates saying that they had a degree of sympathy with him.

The issue of pedestrians encroaching on the tram tracks around Piccadilly Gardens and on Market Street is an ongoing problem with many not seeming to realise that they are walking on tram tracks whilst going on about their business. Metrolink drivers have to be alert at all times in this area as it seems that many pedestrians won’t be.

The incident is currently being investigated by the RAIB and they are expected to release their report with recommendations at some point in 2016. The Manchester Evening News this week suggested that they will recommend that the tracks in this area should be altered and extra markings put in place to warn pedestrians, although if a great big tram running through the area at very regular intervals isn’t enough of a warning it isn’t known what will help.

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13 Responses to Metrolink driver fined for not driving with due care and attention

  1. David Butterworth says:

    One issue in this unfortunate incident may well have been the ‘swept path’ which the trams take, especially on the curve at this location.

    There is a considerable amount of overhang either side of the trams, and pedestrians may not necessarily be be aware They will notice, one hopes the actual tracks, but perhaps little else.

  2. Ken Walker says:

    When I used to change trams at Market Street to go from Oldham to Piccadilly station I used to witness rhe kamikaze antics of pedestrians, walking along the track adjacent to the platforms with their backs to trams even when there is space on the pavement. People don’t walk down the middle of main roads with their backs to the traffic so I don’t know why they think it’s safe to do it on tram lines. They also cross right in front of trams after looking and seeing the tram approaching. And if (when) the driver sounds the horn they take it as a friendly greeting and invitation to run across. It never seems to enter their empty heads that if they slip or trip then the tram would not be able to stop.
    It isn’t just in Manchester. When I’m in Blackpool it frequently amazes me that with a promenade walkway which with the grassed area must be about 50 foot wide they still choose to walk along the edge of the track with their backs to traffic. I strongly suspect that it’s another case of only in this country where the law encourages people to think that their safety is the responsibility of everyone but themselves. I feel sorry for the drivers who have to contend with this behaviour every day, I would be a nervous wreck within a week.

  3. JOHN WIGNALL says:


  4. I have many films of Metrolink and when I play the city centre views back what amazes me is the sheer numbers of people crossing the tracks whilst messing with mobile phone and/or wearing headphones and earpieces completely oblivious of the dangers from being hit by a tram.

  5. John Stewart says:

    I too have witnessed the kamikaze practices of some pedestrians. I think that much of the problem arises from the lack of kerbs. These were omitted for the very good reason of wanting to make it easy for persons of restricted mobility to cross easily but that clashes with the lesson learned from childhood that a kerb marks the division between pedestrian and vehicular areas. Perhaps some surface treatment short of kerbs could be devised to give a reminder that the person is moving into a vehicular area. The problem seems worse in squares, like Piccadilly Gardens, than in traditional linear streets where the vestige of crossing the road is still subconsciously there.

    • Steve Hyde says:

      Whilst not wishing to prejudge the investigation looking at a few photos of the area where the accident happened there are kerbs but they are in the form of very low profile blocks which are a slightly different tone to the surrounding paving and taper down slightly from the paving to the track. They mark out the swept path. The height difference is very small and as the paving has aged the tonal difference has reduced a fair bit.

  6. Paul Thacker says:

    I have stood on Market Street many times and witnessed suicidal pedestrians every time! And deaf too! In a very busy part of Manchester with so many people about it is very tough and stressful for the drivers to watch everyone. I just hope that Metrolink don’t think that just because the driver pleaded guilty that he is the only one at fault. The magistrates themselves saying that they had a degree of sympathy with him. If he loses his job over this then that will seem very harsh indeed. Especially as they know themselves that there is a problem at this location.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Is the date right – the RAIB bulletin says 12th.

  8. tony stevenson says:

    I think it is time G.M.P.T. took legal action against pedestrians and car drivers who screw up the system.However we live in a Granny State so its the trams fault for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, I expect the powers that be will try and fence of the tramway in the street.All replys on a postcard please.

    • Ken Walker says:

      I don’t think any action against pedestrians would be successful as there doesn’t seem to be any legal obligation on them to take responsibility for their own actions or safety, even though their actions potentially put the safety of others at risk, ie standing passengers if a driver has to make an emergency brake application due to somebody walking out too closely in front of the tram and slipping or tripping. It’s a farcical situation.

  9. Keith Dew says:

    The few times I have been in Piccadilly Gardens it is as if the pedestrians believe that the Trams will stop so they can cross whenever they like. Perhaps it’s the relative slow speed that makes the pedestrians think they can win. Hope the driver keeps his job.

  10. Ken Walker says:

    While waiting at Exchange Square for a tram yesterday afternoon I saw 2 people walking along the middle of the track towards Withy Grove with their backs to traffic even though there was plenty of room on the adjacent path. What made it worse was that the offenders were uniformed police officers!
    Ok they probably had the intelligence to know that as the reversing point was empty there was no risk of anything coming up behind them, but what sort of an example were they setting to the public?