PEOPLE are being urged to take extra care at level crossings.
Five deaths occurred at level crossings in Britain in 2020-21, up from two in the previous year and the Office of Rail and road says this could have been much worse with a sharp increase in near misses with pedestrians also recorded.
Statistics from the rail regulator show 342 people were nearly hit by oncoming trains in 2020-21 – the highest level of near misses with pedestrians at crossings level since records began in 2002/03.
The ORR says much of this increase relates to a change in level crossing user behaviour, including people ignoring barriers or being distracted by others, using mobile phones and taking photos and videos of the railway in places they shouldn’t.
There were also 48 near misses with road vehicles at level crossings, down from 75 and the lowest since 2002-03.
ORR’s HM Chief Inspector of Railways Ian Prosser CBE said: “It is unfortunate that despite fewer trains running on the network in the last year we have seen an increase in the number of deaths at level crossings.
“This past year we have seen shocking CCTV footage of reckless behaviour at level crossings and I cannot stress enough the danger people are putting themselves in when not using a crossing safely.”