Dramatic footage showing a cyclist in a horrifying near-miss with a train has prompted a safety warning from Network Rail and the British Transport Police.
The shocking incident occurred at Ducketts level crossing in Pudsey, a busy crossing on the line between Leeds and Bradford Interchange which sees around 127 trains per day travelling at speeds of up to 60mph.
The crossing is one of the highest risk crossings in the area with 18 incidents over the past 18 months. As well as the near fatal incident captured on CCTV last summer, others include the phones at the crossing being left off the hook, the crossing gates being left open and drivers entering the crossing while the red warning lights are on. There have also been cases of children trespassing at the crossing and a near miss with a car.
In the last 18 months, incidents at Ducketts have also caused 764 minutes of delays at a cost of £14,260 to the taxpayer.
Vicki Beadle, community safety manager at Network Rail, said: “We are investing more than £100m to improve level crossing safety across Britain, but we also need everyone who uses level crossings to do their bit too. We cannot stress enough the danger cyclists, pedestrians and motorists are placing themselves in when they don’t use the crossing safely.
“When a cyclist approaches a level crossing, they should dismount their bike and check that no trains are coming from both directions before they cross.
“The footage shows just how close this cyclist came to being struck, and most likely killed by the train. People need to realise how a split second decision to ignore safety procedures can have life changing consequences, not only for themselves, but also for their family and friends. These type of incidents also affect train drivers and railway workers, who have to deal with the aftermath.”
Chief Insp Lorna McEwan, of BTP, said: “This cyclist was one of the lucky ones. Sadly, there are many people who have not been as fortunate, and I have had the heart breaking job of telling families that their loved ones has been killed at crossings or on the tracks.
“Despite our constant warnings about using crossings safely and the dangers of the railway, incredibly some people are still willing to put their lives on the line by ignoring crossing instructions, not looking properly or by trying to dash across crossings when trains are approaching.
“Most accidents are as a result of impatience; not being prepared to wait and trying to beat the train. People risk their lives thinking it won’t happen to me, but it can and it does and it’s simply not worth the risk.”