13 August, 2012
Rail Safety Week focussed on raising pedestrian awareness
Rail Safety Week is a timely reminder for all drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to be aware of the dangers around rail tracks and crossings, Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges said today at the launch of this year’s Rail Safety Week at Wellington Railway Station.
This year’s Rail Safety Week campaign aims to reduce trespassing on rail tracks — the leading cause of railway related deaths in New Zealand — and encouraging safe behaviour around stations and pedestrian crossings.
“Trespassing can include taking short cuts down or across tracks, using tracks as a footpath between stations, and needless risk taking.”
In the last decade, 97 pedestrians have died while trespassing on railway tracks, instead of using the proper walkways and crossings.
“We have too many avoidable tragedies on our rail network, so I’m urging everyone to remember this year’s Rail Safety Week theme ‘use your brain, tracks are for trains’.
The Government contributes up to $1 million per year to upgrade level crossings with warning lights, bells, and barriers. This is made up of $500,000 from the Crown and $500,000 from the New Zealand Transport Agency.
“Of course there is only so much the Government can do. It is everyone’s responsibility to take time and care in making decisions around train tracks and stations. As we continue to see, this can make the difference between life and death.”
Rail Safety Week runs from 13 to 19 August and is coordinated by KiwiRail and the Chris Cairns Foundation.