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12 Tips For Rail Transit Pedestrian Safety

Rail transit pedestrian safety should be a major priority for public officials in every community that offers train services, including both everyday commuter rail lines and Amtrak.  Instructing the general public in some basic rail transit pedestrian safety tips can easily curb the number of train-related accidents that occur in the United States, and these should cover the following:

1. Only cross tracks at designated points.  Crossing at unauthorized locations exposes pedestrians to multiple risks, including injuries and trespassing charges.

2. If a train has just passed, take extra care before crossing, especially when two sets of tracks are side-by-side.  The train that just passed may have been obscuring an approaching one from view.

3. Never walk or drive around flashing caution lights or lowered crossing arms.  If these safety measures are in play but it’s clear that no train is coming, there may be a malfunction.  Contact authorities to have a repair crew dispatched, and then find another crossing point to use.

4. Rail platforms are for commuter use only.  If pedestrians are not planning on boarding a train, they should stay away to make room for passengers.  The same is true of stations and other railroad structures.

5. Never stand too close to the edge of a platform; a slip can lead to a fall onto the tracks.

6. Pedestrians should stand well away from arriving trains, as the rush of air can cause them to lose their footing.

7. Riders should keep their distance from strangers on platforms and in rail facilities, because pickpockets and other criminals frequent such locations.  If someone brushes against you, make sure your wallet is in place and check the contents of your purse or bag.

8. In rural areas, ATV or motorcycle riders may sometimes travel on or alongside tracks.  This is a bad practice, because if a train comes, the riders may be unable to get out of the way in time.  Pedestrians should avoid walking on or beside railroad trestles and underpasses for the same reason.

9. In the event that someone falls into the path of an oncoming train, under no circumstances should anyone else follow them onto the tracks.  Instead, witnesses should find transit employees to notify, or call emergency services from a cell or payphone.

10. Children should be watched diligently at rail platforms and crossings, as they are at special risk of being injured due to their undeveloped cognitive functions, smaller build, shorter height, inexperience, and impulsive nature.  Predators also often seek out public places to prey on children, so it is important that parents never let little ones out of sight.

11. Those with special mobility challenges should exercise extra care when using rail facilities.  Those in wheelchairs should ensure that they’re well away from the route of approaching and departing trains.  The same is true for those using crutches, walkers,
canes, or seeing eye dogs.

12. Adverse weather conditions can make platforms treacherous.  Riders should be on the alert for puddles, ice, snow, and other slip hazards, especially during winter or when it has been raining.  Wearing shoes with non-slip soles offers an extra degree of protection.

Methods for Communicating Rail Safety Tips to the Public
The best way to avoid an accident is to prevent the conditions likely to cause one.  This includes educating the public about the safety tips outlined above by doing things like placing public notices near platforms and crossings; airing safety commercials on local TV and radio stations; holding speaking engagements in schools, at civic club meetings, and in town halls; advertising safety boards on transit web sites; and offering pamphlets about rail transit pedestrian safety in public facilities.

Ensuring rail transit pedestrian safety on stations, platforms and crosswalks is an important job.  Follow the guidelines discussed above, and contact Impact Recovery today to find out about other ways to ensure that accidents are avoided.