Keeping Yourself Safe on Public Transport

Public transport is a convenient and relatively cost-effective way to travel, so it is plain to see why so many people catch it each day to and from work, school or during their leisure time instead of using private transport.

As with car travel, buses, trains, and ferries also bear a certain amount of risk and although it is easy to switch on some music or catch up on a series, zone out and assume the transport operator is responsible for your safety, you owe yourself a personal duty to keep yourself out of harm’s way, too.

If you are seriously injured while on public transport but are also found to have contributed in some way to the injury due to your own negligence, you may risk a reduction in the amount of compensation you are entitled to or your claim could be rejected entirely.

Here’s how to keep yourself safe on public transport.

When traveling on public transport you should always:

  • stay focussed as you enter or leave the vehicle. This means putting your phone or other distractions away for the time being, watching for other passengers descending or entering, and paying attention to stairs or gaps or other potentially hazardous objects;
  • be seated, or if that is not possible, hold on to a handle, bar or seat back to maintain your balance; and
  • take your seat (or handle) as soon as possible to avoid losing your balance as the vehicle begins to move.

As a courtesy to other passengers, you should always ensure any items you are carrying such as a handbag or briefcase, umbrella or shopping bags are stored on your lap, neatly under the seat or in the dedicated luggage section so they do not become a trip hazard.

When descending public transport near the road or a station you should always:

  • wait for the bus to depart the stop rather than attempting to cross the road in front of or behind it;
  • stay behind any safety markers, such as the line on the train platform;
  • allow for plenty of time to travel so you can avoid racing up and down stairs, escalators, on roads or on busy platforms to meet your connecting transport.

What types of injuries are common in public transport accidents?

Injuries commonly sustained in accidents on and related to public transport include:

  • broken bones, head and spinal injuries, lacerations and cuts and internal injuries as a result of bus or train crashes and collisions between passengers and vehicles;
  • trips and falls due to missed steps or gaps between the platform/road and the vehicle, poorly placed bags and luggage, liquid spills or other hazards and running carelessly on staircases, platforms or escalators;
  • falls caused by vehicles accelerating or braking while passengers are standing or unbalanced; and
  • injuries caused by ticket gates or vehicle doors slamming shut on passengers.

What should I do if I’m in an accident on public transport?

It is important that there is an official record of the incident so if you are injured whilst on public transport or because of it (i.e. you are hit by a bus or train), you should immediately report the incident to the driver or operator as well as the relevant transport authority. For your own records and peace of mind, you should also seek medical attention as soon as practicable.

If your injury is serious enough to warrant time off work or other events resulting in lost income, please contact one of our personal injury lawyers on (07) 4052 0760 who can assist with a claim for compensation.

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