In the depths of the Clunes State Forest is a railway line. A forest track goes across it. Road traffic would never have been frequent. For reasons that would at first glance seem hard to fathom it was upgraded, presumably at great expense. Then to make sure it was safe gates were put across it. Now there is no traffic.
In June 2007, a few kilometres north of Kerang, Victoria, a truck ploughed into a train killing 11 and injuring 23 others. The truck driver was charged with 11 charges of culpable driving and eight counts of negligently causing serious injury. On the face of it the case should have been a lay down misere, a professional driver familiar with the route propels his truck past the flashing lights into the side of a train at a rail crossing in perfect road conditions. Surely we can expect drivers not to do that.
Up steps the defence. The alternate theory of the crime was that the State of Victoria dunnit. Victoria’s rail crossings were unsafe. The jury bought it. The driver went free. I wonder if they would like to buy a bridge in NSW that I have for sale. Looks a bit like a coat hanger and yields an excellent return in tolls.
The good folk of Victoria now have 80 km speed limits anywhere near rail crossings.
This particular rail crossing is the only road access to a chunk of forest. There could be an emergency. Think about it, brain storm it. I’ve got an idea, let’s make the gates breakable.
Breakable, ooh, that could be an invitation to every hoon in the neighbourhood.
So lets call them frangible they won’t know what that means. (My spell checker doesn’t).
Hope the signs are frangible, too.