The pedestrian crossing at the corner of Francis and Ballarat Streets saw two serious accidents involving trucks in 2023.

In July, Jason was seriously injured when a truck hit the overhead traffic light and it came crashing down on his head. He spent weeks in hospital and is still recovering from horrific injuries including a fractured skull and face.

The overhead traffic light then wasn’t replaced for months, drastically reducing visibility at the crossing.

Then in October, Brad was struck by a truck as he crossed Francis Street here on a green light. The truck was running the red light, with the driver claiming not to have seen the remaining red lights as they were obstructed by other trucks. Brad sustained a punctured lung, broken ribs and other internal injuries but luckily was able to recover at home.

MTAG visited the crossing and counted multiple trucks running the red light, creating this video. The lack of an overhead traffic light meant that truck drivers were not seeing the pedestrian crossing.

These incidents were featured in a major channel 9 news story and in the Herald Sun and Western Leader. The Leader created this powerful video of Brad and his first responder Andria talking about their recollections of the accident.

The traffic light was eventually replaced, and we were informed that it took so long  because work needs to take place in the vicinity of a gas pipeline, therefore requiring permits and approvals.

BUT…why was nothing done to make this crossing safe for the intervening four months? Where was the urgency? Why were no temporary signs installed warning drivers of the crossing? If drivers could not see the red lights, the crossing either needed to be made safe, or closed down. It was a complete miracle that no one was killed here.

MTAG is calling for a full safety audit at this crossing. Some suggestions to make it safer are:

* Early warning flashing lights alerting drivers to the signal changes ahead

* Barriers to protect waiting pedestrians

* Much higher visibility of the crossing

* A 40km/hr speed limit during school crossing times

* Perhaps implementation of a proper full intersection that takes in Ballarat and Hughes streets, or alternatively an overhead pedestrian crossing next to the rail overpass.