WRECKLESS cyclists and pedestrians senselessly risk their lives rushing over a level crossing where 30 people were injured last year.
One bike rider is sent crashing to the ground while others on foot find themselves trapped on the tracks as they fail in their bid to beat the barriers falling.
The footage shot at the crossing in Poole High Street was released by Network Rail in a bid to highlight the dangers posed by ignoring warning lights and alarms.
It also shows a pedestrian, failing to pay attention, struck on the head by a barrier.
Another awkwardly hits his face as he scrambles under the gate.
A further cyclist finds himself trapped by the barrier which eventually is raised to let him pass.
Network Rail said there were were 86 incidents in Dorset last year and a third of them happened at the Poole crossing west of Bournemouth.
Sam Pead, Network Rail’s level crossing manager for the region, said: “The cyclists and pedestrians from this footage were extremely lucky to have avoided serious harm – the consequences could have been so much worse.
“Incidents of this nature, particularly where people think they can make it over the level crossing before the barrier closes, are worryingly common in Dorset- particularly at Poole High Street- and we are working with local authorities to educate people on the dangers of deliberately misusing crossings.
“There are no excuses for attempting to use level crossing when the lowering sequence is active – it’s not just potential criminal proceedings that you’re risking, it’s also your life.”
They say they are continuing to work with Poole Borough Council to improve education and safety enforcement at the level crossing.
While Britain has the safest rail network in Europe, level crossings are one of the biggest public safety risks as Network Rail’s 20,000 miles of track directly interfaces with about 6,000 road and footpath crossings.
Since 2013 one person has been killed on average on a level crossing every eight weeks.
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In the last year there has also been a 12 per cent rise in the number of incidents at level crossings.
Allan Spence, head of public and passenger safety at Network Rail, explains: “A lack of knowledge around how dangerous the tracks can be means more people are not taking the proper care at level crossings and putting themselves in danger.
“We are investing more than £100m to improve level crossing safety across Britain as part of the Railway Upgrade Plan, but we also need everyone who uses level crossings to do their bit too. By understanding how to use a crossing safety and paying attention to the warnings at level crossings, we can all keep ourselves out of harm’s way.”
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