28 Aug 2013

Waterway regulations mooted in Venice after death of tourist

6:06 am on 28 August 2013

Venice has announced proposals to make navigation safer on the main waterway after a German tourist died in a crash there last week.

Mayor Giorgio Orsoni said the city council aims to regulate traffic flow on the heavily congested Grand Canal and include plans for checks for drug use by gondoliers.

A German man died after a gondola collided with a "vaporetto" (public water bus) on 17 August. The BBC reports he was crushed between the two craft.

Police said traces of cocaine were found in the bloodstream of the gondolier.

"We have to think of the Grand Canal as a street, a main street like that of all cities, with particular heavy traffic. We need some discipline," Mr Orsoni told the BBC on Monday.

To avoid future accidents, he said, "these measures will require some sacrifices for citizens".

Gondolas may be allowed to operate only at certain times of the day after morning rush hour, he added.

He also said the city council was assessing the possibility of widening narrow passageways by removing structures such as small docks.

The BBC reports the coouncil is also looking into proposals to ban captains from using hand-held devices whilst navigating the canals.