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Beware the bubble

Ever feel like you’re in a world of your own?

That private ‘bubble’, where you can be lost in your phone, your favourite song, or simply your thoughts. It might be a more dangerous place than you think.

While Britain’s railway is one of the safest in Europe, we still see hundreds of accidents each year across our stations and level crossings.

An increasing number of studies have shown that many of these accidents may be due to inattention – when we lose sight of what’s around us because our head’s elsewhere. When we’re distracted – like looking at a mobile phone – we develop tunnel vision, and miss even the most unexpected or unusual objects around us. And this could be fatal in the railway environment. 

So we’re calling on everyone to take care when out-and-about, wherever their attention wanders. And help us keep people safe, wherever they are on the railway.

A focus on users of footpath crossings

‘Beware the Bubble’ is Network Rail’s public safety campaign, which aims to combat distraction by encouraging people to be more present and mindful of their surroundings when using the railway.

The campaign has been developed based on one simple, psychological and relatable truth – we all live our lives ‘in a bubble’ but sometimes this can lead to injury or harm. We see far less of the world than we think we do, especially when we’re distracted by something.

We also know that significant proportions of the population are unaware of the dangers around the railway, but also that people can become complacent with familiar surroundings, or their attention is focussed elsewhere.

This summer the campaign focuses on users of footpath level crossings. In the last three years 19 lives have been lost at level crossings amongst pedestrians and cyclists, with 5 in the last 2 years involving dogs. We’re seeing the majority of near miss incidents are happening at footpath crossings where it is the responsibility of the user to check for oncoming trains before crossing.

So, we want to reach those who use footpath crossings as part of their regular routine to remind them of the dangers and to pay attention when using level crossings.

Take care when you’re out-and-about, wherever your attention wanders. And help us keep you safe, wherever you are on the railway.

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