An Oslo tram’s fatal collision with a pedestrian over the weekend has raised concerns of the hazards both trams and pedestrians face on crowded city streets everyday. Police and transport authorities worry that pedestrians using earphones don’t hear trams or other traffic around them, and take unnecessary, even life-threatening risks.
The pedestrian killed Sunday, a man in his 40s, reportedly dashed across the busy street in downtown Oslo called Storgata. Witnesses said the man ran right in front of an oncoming tram, that the tram’s driver blew its horn twice but was unable to stop and ran over the man, who was declared dead at the scene.
“Many people have hoods drawn up over their heads, and are using earphones, listening to music or talking on a mobile phone,” Cato Asperud, communications director for the tram agency Sporveien, told newspaper Dagsavisen. “They’re not paying attention to what’s going on around them, and can become careless.”
Asperud said that tram drivers experience harrowing situations on a daily basis. “They know they have to be good at assessing traffic and crowds, and to see situations before they arise,” Asperud told Dagsavisen. A union spokesman for the tram drivers agreed, saying they often “drive with our hearts in our throats.” The busy areas around Oslo’s Central Station and in Storgata, especially at the Brugata stop, are considered the most hazardous, and the areas where pedestrians take too many chances.