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Published on : Monday, June 8, 2015
On 3 June, the UIC, the international rail community and many partners from the road sector as well as a number of international institutions held the 7th edition of International Level Crossing Awareness Day.
As in previous years, many countries participated in this global event; some re-laid it on their websites or on social media, and others organised a range of activities around 3 June. The partners in ILCAD will focused in particular on safety at level crossings, but some also made the most of the opportunity to raise public awareness of other dangers such as crossing railway lines where it is strictly forbidden to do so, or safety on station platforms.
Each year, the ILCAD partners choose a different section of the public for their awareness campaign and this year they have decided to focus on pedestrians and cyclists.
Almost all collisions on level crossings result due to the actions of the road users, but increasingly also due to pedestrians and cyclists. Behaviour such as failing to respect the highway code, lapses in concentration, habit, fear of arriving late for school, work or an appointment, lack of awareness of the risks are all involved. Such behaviour which fails to take safety adequately into account, leads level crossing users to act recklessly, leading to severe injuries or even loss of life. They can put the lives of others at risk, whether those travelling in their vehicles, or rail staff and passengers.
Pedestrians who pass under or over the barriers at level crossings to save time, or cyclists who illegally zig- zag round the half barriers may sometimes allow a first train to pass but fail to expect another coming from the other direction and are struck by it.
To promote the awareness of these pedestrians and cyclists who infringe the law or who are oblivious of the risks they are running, they had produced a new 1-minute-video and some posters. These posters were made with pedestrians and cyclists in mind, but will be useful as a reminder to all users in a hurry, distracted by modern technology (mobile phones, headphones, sat nav, etc.), stressed by modern-day life. These are the people who do not respect road signs and take unnecessary risks by crossing the tracks when the light is flashing or even when the barriers are down announcing the arrival of a train.
This is a social phenomenon seen throughout the world. Indeed, the number of collisions on roads and level crossings linked to increased use of new technology or the wearing of headsets or earphones has increased in many countries.