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Bossing the crossing

The number of pedestrian level crossing incidents is increasing each year, particularly during the Coronavirus pandemic as people explore new and unfamiliar walking routes.

Trains are still running so it’s important for people to take extra care when crossing the railway by following signs in front of them.

In Summer 2018, we launched ‘bossing the crossing’ – our pedestrian safety campaign to raise awareness of level crossings – which is still relevant today. We continue to engage with people who live, work and play near pedestrian level crossings throughout Britain.

There are approx. 6,000 public/private level crossings on the rail network

There are various types of level crossings, some operate with modern automatic barriers, some with barriers remotely controlled by a Signaller, and others have a more traditional operation that require users to STOP, LOOK and LISTEN for approaching trains. Although the UK has one of the safest level crossing records in Europe, people still die on crossings each year and the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) claim that ‘pedestrian near misses are showing an upward trend’ (Annual Safety Performance Report, 2019/20).

Furthermore, this latest report outlines:

  • Pedestrian incidents at level crossings have increased by 7% in the past five years.
  • The peak incident months are April-October with warmer weather, harvest time and outdoor pursuits.
  • Most pedestrian incidents occur between 08:00 – 19:00, with a peak around 15:00.

Most pedestrian near misses were reported to be as a result of incorrect use…people avoiding waiting or being unaware of an approaching train.

There has been an annual increase in pedestrian incidents since 2011-12. Peak incident months April - October
Train passing a level crossing. Always expect trains at a level crossing.

The focus of the campaign is to highlight the stark contrast of a level crossing – safe and calm at one moment, and deathly dangerous in a split-second.

At 17, Lucy was an aspiring hairdresser using the railway every day – that all changed in a split second when she was hit by a train on a level crossing.

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