Level crossing misuse in Kent

Caught on CCTV, a cyclist ignores a red light at a level crossing in Kent.

As part of its continuing campaign to promote the safe use of level crossings, Network Rail has released two videos of cyclists misusing crossings in Kent, putting themselves at risk of being hit by trains.

In one, recorded by CCTV cameras at a crossing at Ripple, near Deal, a single cyclist can be seen crossing, without dismounting his bicycle, just before an approaching train. Had his chain slipped or malfunctioned, he would have been stranded in front of the oncoming train, and again the driver had to make an emergency stop.

On the other video, four adult male cyclists can be seen completely ignoring a red warning light to cross the railway line at Pebble Lane, on the main line between Rochester and Sole Street, not only breaching lockdown but also causing a train to brake to a stop.

The last cyclist makes it across the railway with just three seconds to spare and, if the driver of the approaching train had not applied his emergency brake in time, he could well have been killed.

The release of these videos comes the week after new figures revealed a 38% increase in youth trespass incidents in South East London and Kent after the region emerged from the first national lockdown – there are now concerns this might be being replicated by adults.

Vincent van der Hoeven, Network Rail’s head of route quality health safety and environment, said: “I’m really saddened by the attitude of these adult cyclists in two recent incidents.

“People often assume that misusing level crossings is something young people do, but these were adults who must be fully aware that crossing in front of a train poses not just a danger to them but to the driver and passengers of the approaching train as well.

“We are all complying with the COVID lockdown out of respect for life and I would ask people to treat the risk of the railway with the same respect.”

“The instructions at level crossings are clear. Please don’t ignore them.”

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