Police in Nantwich look to the council as they would like to see railway crossings upgraded for better public safety, something which could be implemented nationwide if the concerns are taken seriously.
Risks of half crossings
Nantwich Police have recently conducted an operation based at the local railway crossing to warn pedestrians and motorists of misusing it when in use. There have been numerous incidents at that particular crossing including pedestrians walking under the barriers and cars parking across it in heavy traffic.
This is not isolated to Nantwich as other railway crossings across the UK have also seen misuse by pedestrians and drivers. One major problem on the pedestrian side is that many crossings only have a single barrier or “half barrier” that does not prevent pedestrians from walking onto the tracks.
The most at risk category, school aged children, have been known to ignore the barriers during peak commuter times (7am – 9am and 4pm – 7pm) for various reasons. Police taking part in the operation hoped to encourage them to be patient when the crossings were down even if they were running late.
Replacing the barriers
Local Liberal Democrat Councillor Cllr Rod Fletcher (who worked on the railways for over 30 years) spoke to local press to give his opinion on the situation, saying “This is a half-barrier crossing and young people going to school across half barrier crossings is not a good idea. They may be late for school, they may think ‘well the lights are flashing but I can get across before the train comes’, that is not a good idea it’s very unsafe”
“In my personal opinion half barrier level crossings should be removed and replaced by full-barrier level crossings.”
Part of the struggle is trying to change attitudes. The public need to recognise the risk of “chancing” whether they can get to the other side before a train passes. At the moment some people still take the risk but that perception should change to try and cut injuries and deaths on crossings.
Thankfully for the UK that attitude is on the decline but is still not completely eradicated. Statistics from Network Rail indicate that year on year, collisions and near misses with both cars and pedestrians are falling although it is accepted that even 1 death per year is too many.
Waiving legal rights
Anybody choosing to ignore warning lights and barriers at railway crossings waives their right to compensation for injuries caused when crossing. If however you suffer an injury while waiting (in a car or at the roadside as a pedestrian) such as a driver not paying attention hitting you then you can claim for injuries.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of somebody else’s negligence (on a railway crossing or anywhere else) and want to make a compensation claim you can call 01695 722 222 or free, impartial advice from one of our experts.
We offer a no win no fee service taking the risk out of staring a claim. If you’d like to get in touch online we also have a claim form which allows you to describe the injury to us from which we can call you at your convenience to discuss your best options.
- Wikimedia Commons; Wikipedia; https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a1/Westham_Level_Crossing_(open).jpg