Stay safe around trains!

By October 18, 2014Safety

Many people spend a great deal of time getting to and from work daily – unreliable and often unsafe public transport is an enormous issue day to day. Delays, overcrowding, lack of adequate law enforcement and control contribute to our heightened stress levels and often results in people behaving unsafely to try and get to their destination on time. Rail is one of our key modes of public transport and approximately 500 pedestrians are killed annually in this sector. Here are a few tips to avoid traumatic events:

  • Pedestrians, cyclists and users of other wheeled mobility devices must obey railway crossing laws just as motorists. The only place you may cross is at an authorized and properly marked railway crossing preferably use the footbridge if it is in the vicinity.
  • Most of the time when a child does get hit it’s because they weren’t paying enough attention.
  • Children must be taught that trains can’t stop quickly. They need to adopt the steps of ‘Stop, look, listen and think’ when at a pedestrian level crossing.
  • Children should always be supervised around public transport. Hold the hand of children up to five years old when crossing rail lines.
  • Observe and obey all warning signs and signals.
  • Never walk down a train track; it’s illegal and it’s dangerous. By the time a locomotive driver can see a trespasser or a vehicle on the tracks, it is too late.
  • Railway tracks should not be used as a short cut or a walking trail.
  • Trains overhang the rails by a metre in both directions and loose straps hanging from rail cars may extend even further. If you are in the right-of-way next to the rails, you can be hit by the train. Keep a 5 metre safe distance from the rails.
  • Do not cross the tracks immediately after a train passes. A second train might come on the other line and your view may be blocked by the first. Trains can come from either direction. Wait until you can see clearly around the first train in both directions.
  • Look both ways when approaching the track(s) – Never try to beat an approaching train.
  • If you’re a pedestrian, avoid stepping onto the rail while crossing, as it can be slippery.
  • When cycling, always cross the tracks at right angles to the rails.
  • Wheelchairs, prams and strollers should always cross the tracks at right angles to the rail so that the wheels don’t get trapped.
  • Bikes, rollerblades, skates or skateboards must be walked or carried on station platforms, on the ramps leading up to platforms, through pedestrian mazes, while crossing rail lines, in overpasses or underpasses
  • Best advice – Look in both directions – Listen carefully for a train coming – Stop if necessary -If there’s no train, cross straight to the other side of the track.
  • The train drivers always get stressed when people are not paying attention to oncoming trains. Communicate with the driver that you are aware of the train with a thumbs up sign and wave him a goodbye when he passes you safely.
  • Never jump fences, gates or barriers at crossings.
  • Don’t hunt, fish or bungee jump from railroad bridges and sidewalks. There is only enough clearance on the tracks for a train to pass
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Author: Dr Lynelle Hoeks