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Cyclist ignores road safety and nearly pays the price

View profile for Barry Sutton
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I read how a cyclist avoided an almost certain death collision with a train after failing to stop at a closed level crossing barrier in Cambridgeshire in September. The train driver acted quickly in pressing the emergency brake, but the train did not come to a halt until after the level crossing.

Richard Schofield, from Network Rail, said it was "one of the closest near misses we've seen". British Transport Police have released images of the cyclist and are trying to trace the woman, who also ignored the flashing lights and warning signals.

Barbara Moss, who witnessed the incident from the opposite platform, said: "What she did was unbelievable and I'd say she's very lucky to still be here.”

A spokesman for British Transport Police said: "Our main priority is to make sure the woman involved is all right, and find out exactly what happened…But this sort of thing is a criminal offence and people can be charged with failure to obey traffic signs or failure to stop."

Section 293 of the Highway Code confirms regarding controlled crossings that:

  • You MUST always obey the flashing red stop lights.
  • You MUST stop behind the white line across the road.
  • Keep going if you have already crossed the white line when the amber light comes on.
  • Do not reverse onto or over a controlled crossing.
  • You MUST wait if a train goes by and the red lights continue to flash. This means another train will be passing soon.
  • Only cross when the lights go off and barriers open.
  • Never zig-zag around half-barriers, they lower automatically because a train is approaching.
  • At crossings where there are no barriers, a train is approaching when the lights show.

I cannot understand the reason why anyone would wish to ignore level crossing barriers. I would suggest that not only does it put the cyclist at risk but also the train passengers and potentially the train driver also. I completely agree with the witness that the cyclist is very lucky to be alive.

By Barry Sutton, personal injury team

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