Video captures near misses at level crossings in Rochester and Deal as trains forced to emergency stop by cyclists ignoring signals
Published: 12:11, 26 March 2021
Updated: 12:13, 26 March 2021
Reckless cyclists making a last-second dash across level crossings forced two trains to slam on their emergency brakes to avoid killing them.
Video captured on cameras by Network Rail at the crossings in Rochester and Deal have been released showing the careless and impatient bikers desperately making their way across the tracks.
Video captured by Network Rail shows the near misses at level crossings in Medway and Deal
Police are now investigating the incidents as the footage has been released to the public.
In the footage, the trains pass the crossings just seconds later after having to come to a full stop and narrowly avoiding disaster.
The incident at the crossing at Pebble Lane between Rochester and Sole Street saw four men ignoring the clear red signal telling them not to cross due to an oncoming train.
Their actions, were not only a breach of lockdown rules, but forced the train to stop.
The final cyclist in the group makes a dash across the tracks and passes just three seconds before the train, which was slowing, passes the crossing at speed.
A second clip shows another man crossing the tracks at Ripple near Deal just moments before a train comes to a halt on the crossing itself.
The incident, which saw the cyclist still crossing while riding his bike could have ended with dire consequences if his chain had slipped or there was a fault and leaving him stranded in front of the train.
Both mindless incidents have triggered warnings from police, train drivers and Network Rail to not cross when there is a train approaching.
Insp Jon Pine from the Britsh Transport Police, said: “In nearly 20 years of policing I have seen few examples of such senselessly idiotic behaviour on a level crossing.
"These cyclists clearly had absolutely no regard for their own safety or that of others – and I speak from experience when I say we could have easily been dealing with the catastrophic consequences.
"Trespass is of course a criminal offence and we’d be more than happy to educate these cyclists on the very real dangers of the railway.”
Network Rail's head of route quality health safety and environment Vincent van der Hoeven said: “I’m really saddened by the attitude of these adult cyclists in two recent incidents.
"People often assume that misusing level crossings is something young people do, but these were adults who must be fully aware that crossing in front of a train poses not just a danger to them but to the driver and passengers of the approaching train as well.
“We are all complying with the Covid lockdown out of respect for life and I would ask people to treat the risk of the railway with the same respect.
"The instructions at level crossings are clear. Please don’t ignore them.”
Jim Maxwell, head of drivers for Southeastern, added: “Our drivers are critical workers delivering a very important service to get people who have to travel to where they need to be during the current crisis, and don’t deserve the extra stress that these types of incidents cause.
“Reckless trespass incidents like this can have a profound effect on our drivers’ mental health and I fully support our colleagues at Network Rail and the British Transport Police in trying to identify and pursue the culprits."
Figures released last week showed there has been a 38% increase in youth trespass incidents in Kent and south east London since the first lockdown and concerns this trend is now being seen among adults.
Network Rail and BTP is running a campaign titled You vs Train for the last three years which aims to educated about the potential devastating impact and consequences of trespassing on the railway.
Anyone with information about the incidents should contact British Transport Police on 61016.
More by this authorMatt Leclere