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The Ashburton Guardian. Magna Est Veritas et Prevalebit THURSDAY, APRIL 9, 1885. The Railway Crossing.

By direction of the Minister for Pub He Works the police throughout the colony are enforcing, or attempting to enforce, the railway by-law that requires persons when approaching the rails to stop and look out for the engine, and when riding or driving to cross the line at a walking pace. In the local Court some days ago a number of gentlemen were charged with having offended against this by-law; they admitted the offence, were cautioned, not, however, with much austerity, and dismissed. But we are pleased to notice that in some other localities the by-law is being vigorously resisted. A number of defendants before the Oaraaru Court yesterday employed legal assistance, and their counsel has 1 impugned the right of the Minister to place unnecessary and ridiculous restrictions upon road traffic. The Magistrate before whom the cases were heard reserved his decision until to-morrow, but we hope his judgment may be such as to lead to some modification of the obnoxious regulation. The provisions of the Public Works Act give the Minister very large powers in respect to the issue of by-laws, but we cannot believe that the legislature ever intended that those powers should be employed in the direction they have been by Mr Richardson. Sub-section 144 of the Act provides that the Mi lister may make laws dealing with the infernal management of the Department, but we question whether it conveys sufficient power to support the regulation under notice; it certainly does not support that part of the regulation requiring every person before crossing a line of rails to slop*and look out for the engine. The Minister has taken upon himself to dictate what a person shall do before he reaches the jurisdiction of the Department; a dictation he has no power to enforce. But it is'to be hoped that the matter will not resolve itself into a litigious contest between the public and the Department, The present by-law was probably suggested to Mr Richardson by the fatal catastrophe that occurred near Woodend some months ago; it is a fact that since that deplorable calamity the Minister has framed most stringent regulations in his desire to secure immunity from accident. But, while lecognising the advisableness of removing, as far as expedient, all risk to life and limb, we cannot forget that devices for protection are not alone to be considered. If it were otherwise the matter would be comparatively simple ; crossing the line at any place and in any manner might be prohibited ; but the difficulty lies in the fact that any safeguards must not retard, or at most but slightly retard, the ordinary traffic. The by-law under review does unnecessarily retard the traffic, and consequently will be very largely disregarded. The Public Works Act itself distinctly prohibits any person crossing the line if an engine approaching is within quarter of a mile of such crossing. This provision, if enfocred,. would have been an ample safeguard, and in our opinion there was no need for the Minister to frame a regulation which, by meeting with contempt, will lessen the effect of every by-law issued by the Department.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18850409.2.5

Bibliographic details

The Ashburton Guardian. Magna Est Veritas et Prevalebit THURSDAY, APRIL 9, 1885. The Railway Crossing., Ashburton Guardian, Volume V, Issue 1509, 9 April 1885

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535

The Ashburton Guardian. Magna Est Veritas et Prevalebit THURSDAY, APRIL 9, 1885. The Railway Crossing. Ashburton Guardian, Volume V, Issue 1509, 9 April 1885

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