Metrolinx reminds everyone that train time is anytime at level crossings

To recognize International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD), Metrolinx is asking everyone to be extra cautious at level crossings – intersections where roads meet train tracks. Scroll down to learn more about what Metrolinx is doing to raise awareness about safety at level crossings.

According to Operation Lifesaver, 100 Canadians are seriously injured or killed every year at level crossings – a section of road that crosses a train track.

There is no single answer to why people choose to ignore the flashing lights and arms at a crossing.

“Most of these incidents at level crossings are preventable,” said Martin Gallagher, chief safety officer at Metrolinx.

“Collisions at level crossings are caused by pedestrians, cyclists and drivers who deliberately take risks or make bad decisions by mistake, out of habit or because they’re distracted. Everyone needs to be alert at level crossings and remember that trains move quickly and can appear at any time.”

GO Transit Customer Protective Services officers conducting a level crossing safety blitz in Kitchener. (Metrolinx image)

No matter what the cause is, Metrolinx marked ILCAD (June 9) by reminding everyone to pay attention and obey all signals at level crossings.

ILCAD is a global event organized by UIC, International Union of Railways, to improve awareness of level crossing safety. The day highlights how people can easily become complacent with their safety around trains.

“Safety at level crossings doesn’t just happen,” said Fay Pittman, chief engineer at Metrolinx.

“It requires the constant vigilance of each and every one of us to keep each other safe. This global day to raise awareness is an important initiative to get the message out to everyone that ignoring level crossing safety measures can be deadly.”

To mark ILCAD, Metrolinx hosted two events at GO stations to connect with the public about the importance of level crossing safety.

These events were held at Port Credit GO Station (in the parking lot on Stavebank Road) and Stouffville GO Station. Experts about level crossing safety were on hand as well as York, Peel and VIA police services.

Metrolinx is asking everyone to remember these instructions when they approach a level crossing on foot or in a vehicle:

  • Always be prepared to stop at a level crossing
  • Concentrate what you are doing – do not get distracted by other people, music or your phone
  • Stop, look and listen. Pay attention to the warnings, whether they are lights, barriers or alarms
  • Do not proceed until all the warnings stop
  • Check both ways before proceeding
  • Never go around a barrier when it is lowered

Story by Andrea Wiseman, Metrolinx senior advisor, communications to the chief safety officer