Network Rail has launched a safety campaign urging cyclists to dismount at level crossings, in a bid to drive down the number of near misses and deaths at level crossings in the UK.

According to Network Rail, there have been 140 incidents involving cyclists at level crossings during the past five years, four of which were fatal.

As part of the new safety campaign, which was launched earlier this month, Network Rail is providing advice to cyclists about using level crossings, including asking cyclists to:

  • Dismount at footpath crossings as some bikes can get stuck on a crossing;
  • Walk their bike across the railway instead of cycling across as it reduces the risk of danger by helping them to stop, look and listen for approaching trains;
  • Remember that when amber lights are flashing this means STOP as a train is approaching;
  • Remove headphones before crossing a level crossing to ensure they hear warning alarms or approaching trains;
  • Never assume only one train is approaching or try and guess when a train may be approaching based on the timetable.

Network Rail’s level crossing managers will also be visiting cycling clubs and groups across the UK to try to ensure that the safety message reaches as many cyclists as possible.

David Robinson, a serious injury solicitor based at Thompsons Solicitors’ Newcastle office said: “This latest campaign from Network Rail is an important reminder to cyclists that there are serious and potentially fatal risks if safety instructions are not followed at level crossings.

“Any driver, pedestrian or cyclist who chooses to ignore the simple rules set out in the Highway Code, is not only endangering their own lives, but is also risking the safety of train passengers and train drivers. Through our work with trade unions, such as ASLEF we are acutely aware of the risk of serious injury, death and long-term psychological damage faced by train drivers involved in fatal collisions.

“The duty is though not all one way. Network Rail has an ongoing responsibility to ensure that level crossings are well maintained and guarded wherever possible.”