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Rail Safety Week a chance to ask yourself: “Am I RailSAFE?”

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10 August 2020

As part of national Rail Safety Week (10 – 16 August), South Australians are being urged to commit to being RailSAFE, with data showing risky behaviour led to 132 near-misses around rail tracks over the past 12 months.

Rail Safety Week is an annual initiative run by the TrackSAFE Foundation, and is supported by the Department for Infrastructure and Transport (DIT) as part of its ongoing efforts to encourage safe behaviours around trains, trams and rail lines.

The focus for Rail Safety Week this year is for everyone to commit to four easy steps to be RailSAFE: Stay off the tracks, Avoid distractions, Follow instructions and Encourage others to be SAFE.

This message is critically important, with Adelaide Metro data showing there were 132 near-miss incidents reported by rail operators in the 12 months up to 1 August, 2020.

Of these incidents, 89 (just over two thirds) occurred at a railway crossing; including 72 (or 55 per cent) involving a person at a pedestrian crossing and 12 involving a person at a level crossing. Five incidents involved a vehicle at a level crossing.

There are approximately 700 level crossings on public roads and over 450 pedestrian crossings across South Australia’s rail network.

The recent near-miss data is consistent with the long-term average for the previous five years (2014-2018) of 124 incidents per year.

A near-miss is classified as an event in which the driver has been required to take some form of action such as emergency braking, or a person is in a position of danger and doesn’t seem to be aware a train or tram is approaching until the last minute and has to take evasive action. The number of incidents reported only reflects those which are considered of high concern.

DIT urges South Australians to exercise caution when using the rail network, and reminds members of the public that the onus is on them to take responsibility for their own actions.

Incidents on the rail network can cause service disruptions, motorist delays, property damage, trauma, and in the most serious cases, injury and death.

Pedestrians, cyclists and motorists should keep these simple points in mind when nearby railway tracks:

  • If a train or tram is coming, wait for it to pass, and then stop, look, listen and think again before crossing – a second train or tram may be coming.
  • Always use a pedestrian crossing to cross the tracks or to access a station platform – it is illegal to walk or run along the tracks and cross the tracks between platforms.
  • If you’re a pedestrian, be sensible, pay attention and be alert when using pedestrian crossings – trains and trams travel quickly (up to 100km/h) and quietly.
  • Look up from your mobile phone and take off your headphones before crossing – the smallest distraction can have a lifelong impact.
  • When waiting on a platform, stay away from the edge, and stay behind the white line
  • 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.
  • If you’re driving, always make sure there is sufficient space for your vehicle to cross safely to the other side without stopping - it is an offence to enter a level crossing if the road beyond the crossing is blocked or to stop on the yellow box marking.
  • If the boom gates seem to be stuck down or the warning signals flash for longer than normal do not cross, it is an offence to enter a level crossing while the lights are flashing or warning bells operating.
  • Any faults at a level crossing can be reported to 1800 018 313 (remember to comply with mobile phone laws) and if driving you have the choice of waiting, taking an alternative road if able to do so or safely U-turn where legal and possible.
  • Road users need to share the road with trams. Always give way and be careful not to perform U-turns in front of trams.

DIT encourages South Australians to take the Rail Safety Quiz during Rail Safety Week, by visiting: https://mylicence.sa.gov.au/road-rules/rail-safety-quiz

To make a RailSAFE pledge, please visit https://tracksafefoundation.com.au/railsafe-pledge