Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists were targeted yesterday in a Network Rail and police crackdown on dangerous and illegal behaviour at Hampden Park level crossing after a shocking166 offences were recorded during a 10-hour period earlier this year.
Despite the high-visibility presence at yesterday’s event, a further 15 offences were recorded in a two-hour period. The initiative was the second phase of a campaign designed to target misuse of the level crossing, and comes just months after an awareness day aimed at educating members of the public about the dangers and consequences of jumping warning lights and barriers.
During the covert monitoring operation carried out by British Transport Police, 139 vehicles were seen jumping the lights. The majority of offences involved private cars, however, six taxis, 10 commercial vehicles and a bus were also guilty of misuse. In addition, 15 cyclists and 12 pedestrians entered the crossing after the lights and klaxons had started, indicating a train is about to pass through.
Ellie Reilly, community safety manager, Network Rail, said: “There are up to 16 trains per hour passing through Hampden Park travelling at speeds up to 85mph. It is astonishing that, on average, someone takes a risk at the level crossing every three and a half minutes, putting their life and the safety of other people in danger. We are committed to tackling irresponsible behaviour at level crossings and will continue our activity at Hampden Park to try and change people’s behaviour. Where necessary we will always seek to prosecute law breakers.”
“Not only is jumping lights, swerving around barriers and stopping on level crossings dangerous, it can cause long and frustrating delays for motorists and train passengers. It also costs the rail industry millions, which can’t then be invested in making the railway better for passengers.”
Offences at Hampden Park level crossing were carried out by people of all ages throughout the whole day:
– Motorists misused the level crossing most between 10am-11am and 3pm – 4pm, with 20 offences being recorded during each period
– The motorists who most regularly jumped the lights were males aged between 30-50-years-old* (60 offences). Female motorists aged 30 – 50 were the second most frequent offenders (27) with females (12) and males (17) over 50-years-old recording the fewest number of offences
– The worst culprits for jumping the lights and barriers on foot (4 offences) and bicycles (10) were males aged 18-30. There were no offences committed by pedestrians or cyclists aged over 50
– Ignoring lights, klaxons and barriers was the most common offence. In addition,12 vehicles were observed stopping on the level crossing.
BTP Inspector Gary Ancell said: “Education is key to everything we do around level crossings. By informing people of the potential dangers of misusing crossings – and how to use them safely we aim to reduce incidents at these sites.
“We are working closely with Network Rail across the region to improve knowledge and, where necessary, to take action against those who continue to misuse crossings. Incredibly some people are still putting their lives on the line by ignoring warning lights and sirens and trying to dash through crossings when trains are approaching. This is hugely irresponsible and dangerous and we will not hesitate to take action against anyone caught doing so.
“Level crossings – and other crossings where road, footpaths and rail cross – are designed to keep people safe. And, when used correctly, that is exactly what they do. But, as the figures suggest, when people ignore the warnings, there can be fatal consequences.”