Home
Near-miss train cyclist contacts police after video goes viral

A woman who narrowly avoided death when she attempted to ride across a level crossing in Cambridgeshire at the very moment a train sped through has contacted police after a video of the near-miss went viral on the internet.

The video released by British Transport Police shows the bike rider ignoring the lowered barrier on the left hand side of the crossing, as well as the warning lights. There's no sound on the video, but such crossings are also equipped with bells.

At the very last moment, the cyclist realised her peril, and slammed on her brakes. Luckily, they were working, and it was also her good fortune not to go over the handlebars. Wiping her brow, the cyclist moved over to the side of the road, no doubt shaken by the near miss.

A woman contacted British Transport Police on Thursday, and has made an appointment to speak to them in person on October 9.

The incident took place at Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire on Thursday 12 September and the video has been released in an effort to trace the woman as well as to highlight to others the danger of ignoring warnings at level crossings.

PC PC Matt Mildinhall of British Transport Police said: “The footage shows a woman approach the crossing around 6.30pm as the barriers are down. She passes through the barriers and onto the line before braking hard, just seconds before a train passes through.

He added: “We are very keen to speak to the woman in this footage and explain the danger she not only put herself in but others around the crossing at the time.”

A recent safety campaign from Network Rail called Track Tests highlighted research that found that one in three people believe they would hear an approaching train in sufficient time to get out of the way.

Network Rail's Richard Schofield said:  “This is one of the closest incidents of near miss we’ve seen. The person using the crossing not only didn’t hear the train but ignored the warning lights and barriers, putting her life, the lives of passengers and the train driver in danger.

“Warning systems at level crossings are there for a reason, to protect users from the railway. I hope the release of this footage will highlight the importance of following the safety advice at level crossings.”

In May last year, Network Rail launched a TV advert called See Track, Think Train to highlight the dangers of level crossings used by cyclists and pedestrians.

The same month, 34-year-old cyclist Phil Dawn from Kirkby-in-Ashfield died when he was struck by a train as he rode through a level crossing between Sutton Park and Mansfield railway stations in Nottinghamshire.

According to police, he was wearing headphones at the time. Network Rail has previously run a campaign fronted by the rapper Professor Green warning of the dangers of listening to music while negotiating level crossings.

However, the father of a teenage girl killed at a level crossing in Essex seven years ago, insisted that it was wrong to place all the responsibility on crossing users.

Chris Bazlinton, whose 14-year-old daughter Olivia was killed along with her 13-year-old friend Charlotte Thompson, told Sky News last year:  "The sighting at that time was appalling, you couldn't see anything, you couldn't hear anything.

"The maximum time you could see a train is three seconds from that position.

"They were both quite short and they couldn't possibly see anything so they just stepped out in front, and they were killed instantly."

Network Rail was fined £1 million as a result of breaches of safety legislation in connection with that incident. A footbridge has now been put in place, and the level crossing gates have automatic locking.

Last year, Network Rail announced a £130 million upgrade programme for level crossings, including:

A closure programme which will see 750 crossings removed from the network by April 2014. More than 600 had already been closed by October 2012

Replacing footpath crossings with footbridges

Installing warning lights as an additional safety measure at footpath crossings

A new schools programme – Rail Life – teaching both primary and secondary schoolchildren about how to stay safe when crossing the railway

Rolling out 10 more camera enforcement vans

Investing in new technology including obstacle detection lasers

Introducing new cost effective barriers to open crossings

Employing more than 100 new dedicated level crossing managers

Community safety managers who work closely with local groups, councils and schools to raise awareness.

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

64 comments

Avatar
Bagpuss [99 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Lucky cyclist? No that's a very stupid person that happens to be on a bike.

Avatar
Dizzy [68 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I live in a village with a level crossing. The alarms souns & lights flash for at least 30 seconds before the barriers come down, at busy periods, the barriers can ben down for 5/6 minutes as trains approach from both directions, but there is a footbridge
I am constantly amazed at the amount of pedestrians & cyclists that still try to dash through while the alarms are sounding, 4 times this week alone I have seen people have been in the middle of crossing as the barriers come down, luckily the is a manned signal box & the operator keeps careful watch, will stop the barriers..
But really is walking over a small bridge that much of an effort??

Avatar
Karbon Kev [688 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

jeeezus, i can't believe such stupidity ....

Avatar
therevokid [948 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

candidate for a darwin award I think !!

Avatar
qwerky [184 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Karbon Kev wrote:

jeeezus, i can't believe such stupidity ....

Its more common than you think. As with most idiotic behaviour, its not down to mode of transport; you see people trying to get across on foot, on bikes and in cars.

Avatar
madhouse [52 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Seems some people prefer to be dead than late.

Avatar
bazzargh [152 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Obviously didn't see the cute/sick viral hit, Dumb Ways To Die...

http://dumbwaystodie.com/

...cos this was top of their list.

Avatar
Ush [693 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Don't know what all the fuss is about.

She would have been fine: she had a helmet on.

Avatar
Tony Farrelly [2868 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Stupid people can be cyclists too Bagpuss - if they ride a bike

Avatar
kitkat [366 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Ush wrote:

Don't know what all the fuss is about.

She would have been fine: she had a helmet on.

Excellent point. I agree.

Avatar
Bagpuss [99 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

That's the point Tony, it doesn't matter how she ended up there, bike, car or on foot. She did something incredibly stupid. Stupidity isn't restricted to, or defined by a mode of transport.

I'm glad she did stop, as much for her and her family as the driver and passengers on the train and hope she's wiser now.

Avatar
Karbon Kev [688 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

it's just incredible that she thought she could get across without being hit by the train, the barriers come down for a reason, why is anyone THAT impatient?

Avatar
b3nharris [44 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

No doubt that the cyclist in question was being more than a little stupid, but surely barriers which only cover half the road are bordering on negligent? Network rail have as much responsibility to ensure that the crossing is as safe as possible.

Avatar
step-hent [722 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

One of the many things I find amazing about this: if she was in such a rush to get somewhere fast, why did she turn around and head for the side of the road after she nearly got run over? Surely she should have been hammering onwards to get to wherever it was she needed to be, not taking a minute to ponder the fact she almost got herself killed...  39

Avatar
cidermart [489 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Damn nearly erased you from the gene pool better luck next time you utter f***tard. Only afterwards did she turn around and go back the way she came from why was that to change her underwear??

b3nharris Er sorry mate accept responsibility for your actions there are enough warnings not to cross without double gating or is driving/riding through flashing red lights on the wrong side of the road acceptable because you need to get somewhere??

Avatar
thereverent [406 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Some people do not take level crossing as seriously as they need to.
I live near a few in south west London. When the warning lights and siren come on you will see cars and people speed up to get under the barriers as they come down.
The line often has delays due to a vehicle hitting the barrier (needing engineers to check the site).

Avatar
kie7077 [877 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I bet she won't do that again.

Avatar
notfastenough [3685 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
b3nharris wrote:

No doubt that the cyclist in question was being more than a little stupid, but surely barriers which only cover half the road are bordering on negligent? Network rail have as much responsibility to ensure that the crossing is as safe as possible.

To allow those already on the crossing to get across when the barriers lower?

Avatar
Moylj1 [8 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
step-hent wrote:

One of the many things I find amazing about this: if she was in such a rush to get somewhere fast, why did she turn around and head for the side of the road after she nearly got run over? Surely she should have been hammering onwards to get to wherever it was she needed to be, not taking a minute to ponder the fact she almost got herself killed...  39

Because she'd blown her chance of the strava segment of course

Avatar
fatty [77 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

"Britain's luckiest cyclist"... hmmm. I reckon I might be luckier because I haven't been burdened with such an amazing lack of common sense...

Avatar
Sadly Biggins [269 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

It never ceases to amaze me how people will risk life and limb (theirs or someone else's) to try to cut a few seconds off a journey. Was her trip really that important that it warranted nearly being spread all over the front of a train? If it was that important, she should have left earlier; if it wasn't, she should get a sense of perspective, sharpish.

Avatar
DonnyCampo [63 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Not even wearing a hi-viz. Asking for trouble...

Avatar
zanf [838 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
notfastenough wrote:
b3nharris wrote:

No doubt that the cyclist in question was being more than a little stupid, but surely barriers which only cover half the road are bordering on negligent? Network rail have as much responsibility to ensure that the crossing is as safe as possible.

To allow those already on the crossing to get across when the barriers lower?

With double barriers, there is a delayed period of time before the exit ones close, allowing for people currently on the crossing to safely exit.

There is absolutely no reason why all crossing should not have full barriers where there is a road, and locking gates when its a pedestrian crossing.

Avatar
Jack Osbourne snr [438 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Jeezuz  13

I sincerely hope she never gets a driving licence.

Avatar
edster99 [336 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
cidermart wrote:

Damn nearly erased you from the gene pool better luck next time you utter f***tard. Only afterwards did she turn around and go back the way she came from why was that to change her underwear??

b3nharris Er sorry mate accept responsibility for your actions there are enough warnings not to cross without double gating or is driving/riding through flashing red lights on the wrong side of the road acceptable because you need to get somewhere??

+1
and
+1

Avatar
a.jumper [846 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
zanf wrote:

There is absolutely no reason why all crossing should not have full barriers where there is a road, and locking gates when its a pedestrian crossing.

But if there were full barriers, how would the railway get these sort of videos to encourage support for its "closure programme" which divide communities like in http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-14444529 ?

Avatar
Jimbonic [136 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Just last week I saw a guy / runnist / joggler almost get lifted off his feet by a barrier he was trying to hurdle (well, when I say hurdle, perhaps clamber is more accurate). No idea what he was trying to achieve. But, I'm sure waiting a few minutes to get his breath back would have improved his run time. Certainly would have been a better achievement than ending it as a dead person.

This sort of stuff makes my brain ache. I think there must be some sort of competition going on out there to see who can be the biggest f***wit!

Avatar
Grizzerly [298 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

To call her a stupid cow is a serious insult to cows.

Mind you, I was irritated to see this report on Google News under the 'Sport' heading.

Avatar
petec [1 post] 2 years ago
0 likes

As a cyclist surviving 50 years in central London my sympathy is with the train driver...that he braked was a human response but put passengers on the train at risk for an idiot who should have suffered the consequences of her stupidity.

Avatar
Municipal Waste [239 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
b3nharris wrote:

No doubt that the cyclist in question was being more than a little stupid, but surely barriers which only cover half the road are bordering on negligent? Network rail have as much responsibility to ensure that the crossing is as safe as possible.

We all get taught from the time we are old enough to understand how to cross the road and what to do at level crossings. Anyone who can't understand how to use them properly shouldn't be allowed out of the house on their own anyway!

Pages