Dismounting at level crossings

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by [email protected], Feb 21, 2006.

  1. I've seen that the draft for the new highway code contains a reference
    to some (railway) level crossings having 'cyclists dismount' signs.
    I've never seen such a sign at a level crossing and can't imagine any
    advantage being gained from dismounting at one. Does anyone know of any
    examples of crossings with this sign, and the reason behind it?

    Jonathan
     
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  2. [email protected] wrote:
    > I've seen that the draft for the new highway code contains a reference
    > to some (railway) level crossings having 'cyclists dismount' signs.
    > I've never seen such a sign at a level crossing and can't imagine any
    > advantage being gained from dismounting at one. Does anyone know of any
    > examples of crossings with this sign, and the reason behind it?
    >
    > Jonathan
    >



    If the rails cross at a very shallow angle to the road then there it is
    dangerous to ride over them as the risk of the wheel being caught is high.

    That said I can't recall every seeing one of those in recent times. I
    have a vague memory of there being one a one of the channel ports as I
    was catching a ferry many many years ago. Alas the memory is so vague I
    can't even recall which port it was.

    --chris
     
  3. Richard

    Richard Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    > I've seen that the draft for the new highway code contains a reference
    > to some (railway) level crossings having 'cyclists dismount' signs.
    > I've never seen such a sign at a level crossing and can't imagine any
    > advantage being gained from dismounting at one. Does anyone know of any
    > examples of crossings with this sign, and the reason behind it?


    Network Rail say that cyclists "should dismount and walk across [all
    level crossings]" I suspect that's where it came from. As crossings
    are their responsibility to maintain, etc, I suspect that they are
    trying to cover their back against claims from cyclists who've come a
    cropper on the rails, which can be as slippery as "Slipper" McSlippo the
    Slippery Eel (he said with feeling); whilst cycling perpendicularly
    across tracks is fine, cycling across tracks at a shallow angle is a
    recipe for disaster.

    Of course there are solutions such as routing cyclists to cross the
    lines perpendicularly (without sending them unexpectedly into the path
    of motor traffic or pedestrians) or avoiding a surface level cycle
    crossing at all; however, all of these would be vastly more expensive
    than putting up a sign saying "Cyclists Dismount" followed by the
    ritual washing of hands, so that's why I suspect it's arisen.

    R.
     
  4. Simon Mason

    Simon Mason Guest

    <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > I've seen that the draft for the new highway code contains a reference
    > to some (railway) level crossings having 'cyclists dismount' signs.
    > I've never seen such a sign at a level crossing and can't imagine any
    > advantage being gained from dismounting at one. Does anyone know of any
    > examples of crossings with this sign, and the reason behind it?


    Yes. This level crossing at Spring Bank West, Hull.

    http://www.thebikezone.org.uk/thebikezone/eastriding/springbank.html

    It has seen dozens of casualties over the years and the sign exists cos the
    rail people can't be bothered to correct the slanting rails. The local
    council can't be doing with correcting the road layout either, so they
    shoved up a sign saying "Cyclists Dismount" instead, probably to cover their
    backsides when someone gets killed.


    --
    Simon Mason
    http://www.simonmason.karoo.net
     
  5. heed

    heed Guest

    There's one just outside Garve on the A835 between Ullapool and
    Inverness in the Highlands. The road and railway line cross each other
    at a fairly acute angle, and the carriageway which crosses the lines is
    metal rather than tarmac, so one assumes that it's there to reduce wet
    rubber / metal slips and the chances of getting stuck in the tracks
    while crossing at an angle.
     
  6. David Hansen

    David Hansen Guest

    On 21 Feb 2006 09:08:00 -0800 someone who may be
    [email protected] wrote this:-

    >I've seen that the draft for the new highway code contains a reference
    >to some (railway) level crossings having 'cyclists dismount' signs.


    Instead of posting separately to uk.railway and uk.rec.cycling it
    would have made sense to post to both at the same time. Then those
    in uk.railway might have understood the cyclists' perspective a
    little better.


    --
    David Hansen, Edinburgh
    I will *always* explain revoked encryption keys, unless RIP prevents me
    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/00023--e.htm#54
     
  7. David Hansen

    David Hansen Guest

    On Tue, 21 Feb 2006 17:20:45 -0000 someone who may be "Simon Mason"
    <[email protected]> wrote this:-

    ><[email protected]> wrote in message
    >> I've seen that the draft for the new highway code contains a reference
    >> to some (railway) level crossings having 'cyclists dismount' signs.

    >
    >Yes. This level crossing at Spring Bank West, Hull.
    >
    >http://www.thebikezone.org.uk/thebikezone/eastriding/springbank.html
    >
    >It has seen dozens of casualties over the years and the sign exists cos the
    >rail people can't be bothered to correct the slanting rails. The local
    >council can't be doing with correcting the road layout either, so they
    >shoved up a sign saying "Cyclists Dismount" instead, probably to cover their
    >backsides when someone gets killed.


    The question that remains unanswered comes from the part of the web
    page you refer to which says, "The problem at this crossing was
    really created a number of years ago (c1991) when the road was
    realigned". Who realigned the road, the railway or the council? From
    an answer to that question one can determine guilt.


    uk.railway added.



    --
    David Hansen, Edinburgh
    I will *always* explain revoked encryption keys, unless RIP prevents me
    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/00023--e.htm#54
     
  8. David Hansen

    David Hansen Guest

    On Tue, 21 Feb 2006 17:20:41 +0000 someone who may be Richard
    <[email protected]> wrote
    this:-

    >Network Rail say that cyclists "should dismount and walk across [all
    >level crossings]"


    Do they? Do you know where?

    >As crossings
    >are their responsibility to maintain, etc, I suspect that they are
    >trying to cover their back against claims from cyclists who've come a
    >cropper on the rails,


    Quite likely. They are also busy banning pedestrians from using them
    as well http://www.scotways.com/news/detail.php?newsid=29

    >Of course there are solutions such as routing cyclists to cross the
    >lines perpendicularly (without sending them unexpectedly into the path
    >of motor traffic or pedestrians) or avoiding a surface level cycle
    >crossing at all; however, all of these would be vastly more expensive
    >than putting up a sign saying "Cyclists Dismount" followed by the
    >ritual washing of hands, so that's why I suspect it's arisen.


    Indeed.



    --
    David Hansen, Edinburgh
    I will *always* explain revoked encryption keys, unless RIP prevents me
    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/00023--e.htm#54
     
  9. David Hansen wrote in message
    [email protected]:

    > On Tue, 21 Feb 2006 17:20:45 -0000 someone who may be "Simon Mason"
    > <[email protected]> wrote this:-
    >
    >> <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >>> I've seen that the draft for the new highway code contains a
    >>> reference to some (railway) level crossings having 'cyclists
    >>> dismount' signs.

    >>
    >> Yes. This level crossing at Spring Bank West, Hull.
    >>
    >> http://www.thebikezone.org.uk/thebikezone/eastriding/springbank.html
    >>
    >> It has seen dozens of casualties over the years and the sign exists
    >> cos the rail people can't be bothered to correct the slanting rails.
    >> The local council can't be doing with correcting the road layout
    >> either, so they shoved up a sign saying "Cyclists Dismount" instead,
    >> probably to cover their backsides when someone gets killed.

    >
    > The question that remains unanswered comes from the part of the web
    > page you refer to which says, "The problem at this crossing was
    > really created a number of years ago (c1991) when the road was
    > realigned". Who realigned the road, the railway or the council? From
    > an answer to that question one can determine guilt.



    I'd never thought that cyclists would be more at risk on level crossings
    where the road doesn't approach the rails perpendicularly - but then the
    only level crossings that I've ever cycled over have been perpendicular ones
    at Steventon and Appleford in Oxfordshire. I'll bear the increased risk in
    mind if I ever encounter a skew crossing. Likewise if I'm driving and
    there's a bicycle in front of me - I'll hang back in case he skids off.

    It's interesting that the web page says "I understand that this is the only
    'dual carriageway' level crossing in the country" because the photo shows
    what looks like an ordinary road with one lane in each direction - no sign
    of a central reservation. I can think of a dual carriageway crossing:
    Sunningdale in Berkshire - I *think* there's at least a dividing fence
    between the two carriageways at the crossing. But this is stretching the
    point a bit because it's an ordinary single-carriageway road on either side
    and only widens into two lanes and a dividing barrier at the crossing.
     
  10. Roger T.

    Roger T. Guest

  11. Richard

    Richard Guest

    David Hansen wrote:
    >>Network Rail say that cyclists "should dismount and walk across [all
    >>level crossings]"

    >
    > Do they? Do you know where?


    Ahhh..potentially I misinformed:

    http://tinyurl.com/hn4yj
    or
    http://www.wessextrains.co.uk/thesidings/index.php?navID=6&subnavID=219&sub_subnavID=231

    ....*suggest* that it's Network Rail (and, a quick Google confirms that
    Arriva also have exactly the same form of wording). However, I can't
    find anything on the Network Rail website that confirms this (and their
    search engine is this: pants). If I was near a phone I'd call them,
    but..I'm not.

    The Rail Safety and Standards Board, in the context of a report on
    "user-worked crossings" ( http://tinyurl.com/k664s ) came up with this,
    along with classing cyclist behaviour as "risky" if they failed to dismount:

    "Cyclists are only required to dismount where a sign is present at the
    crossing telling them to do so".

    (the same, but with a different nym) R.
     
  12. Richard

    Richard Guest

    Roger T. wrote:
    > What about crossing tram tracks?


    What about crossing tram tracks?

    Safe enough perpendicularly, absolutely lethal at an angle.

    R.
     
  13. Simon Mason

    Simon Mason Guest

    "Martin Underwood" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > It's interesting that the web page says "I understand that this is the
    > only 'dual carriageway' level crossing in the country" because the photo
    > shows what looks like an ordinary road with one lane in each direction -
    > no sign of a central reservation.


    The central reservation in this photo is where the blue sign is attached to
    the lamppost. You can clearly see traffic at the other side of the railings
    heading in the opposite direction.

    http://www.thebikezone.org.uk/erimages/springbank3tn.jpg
     
  14. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    in message <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] ('[email protected]') wrote:

    > I've seen that the draft for the new highway code contains a reference
    > to some (railway) level crossings having 'cyclists dismount' signs.
    > I've never seen such a sign at a level crossing and can't imagine any
    > advantage being gained from dismounting at one. Does anyone know of any
    > examples of crossings with this sign, and the reason behind it?


    Where the railway tracks cross the road at an acute angle they are very
    hazardous to bicyclists. You should always try to cross tracks (and
    other metal things across the road, including cattle grids) as nearly at
    right angles as possible. Otherwise a fall is pretty likely, and
    presumably they don't want people falling and getting concussed on
    unattended level crossings.

    So this makes some degree of sense, providing it is angled crossings
    they're talking about.

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

    For office use only. Please do not write or type below this line.
     
  15. Richard wrote:
    >> What about crossing tram tracks?

    >
    > What about crossing tram tracks?
    >
    > Safe enough perpendicularly, absolutely lethal at an angle.


    No more lethal than cattle grids or some shoddy kerbwork on the sides of
    roads.

    --
    Jonathan Stott
    Canterbury Weather: http://www.canterburyweather.co.uk/
    Reverse my e-mail address to reply by e-mail
     
  16. Clive George

    Clive George Guest

    "Jonathan Stott" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Richard wrote:
    >>> What about crossing tram tracks?

    >>
    >> What about crossing tram tracks?
    >>
    >> Safe enough perpendicularly, absolutely lethal at an angle.

    >
    > No more lethal than cattle grids or some shoddy kerbwork on the sides of
    > roads.


    Cattle grids tend to be perpendicular to the road, so are safer than the
    angled train tracks.

    cheers,
    clive
     
  17. Jim Hawkins

    Jim Hawkins Guest

    "Richard" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Roger T. wrote:
    >> What about crossing tram tracks?

    >
    > What about crossing tram tracks?
    >
    > Safe enough perpendicularly, absolutely lethal at an angle.
    >
    > R.


    Confirmed! I came off my bike on the southeast London tramtracks many times
    in the 1950s.
    But even more hazardous were the woodblock road surfaces - Snow Hill
    (Holborn) was deadly in the wet!

    Jim Hawkins
     
  18. Richard

    Richard Guest

    Jonathan Stott wrote:
    > Richard wrote:
    >
    >>> What about crossing tram tracks?

    >>
    >>
    >> What about crossing tram tracks?
    >>
    >> Safe enough perpendicularly, absolutely lethal at an angle.

    >
    >
    > No more lethal than cattle grids or some shoddy kerbwork on the sides of
    > roads.


    I can't, offhand, think of a reason why I'd want to ride across shoddy
    kerbwork at a shallow angle - assuming you mean 'between road and
    pavement'. If I had to bail out, I'd be falling onto the 'safe' side
    anyway.

    R.
     
  19. LSMike

    LSMike Guest

    Richard wrote:
    > whilst cycling perpendicularly
    > across tracks is fine, cycling across tracks at a shallow angle is a
    > recipe for disaster.


    Tour de France 2005 anyone?
     
  20. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    Simon Brooke wrote:
    > in message <[email protected]>,
    > [email protected] ('[email protected]') wrote:
    >
    > > I've seen that the draft for the new highway code contains a reference
    > > to some (railway) level crossings having 'cyclists dismount' signs.
    > > I've never seen such a sign at a level crossing and can't imagine any
    > > advantage being gained from dismounting at one. Does anyone know of any
    > > examples of crossings with this sign, and the reason behind it?

    >
    > Where the railway tracks cross the road at an acute angle they are very
    > hazardous to bicyclists. You should always try to cross tracks (and
    > other metal things across the road, including cattle grids) as nearly at
    > right angles as possible. Otherwise a fall is pretty likely, and
    > presumably they don't want people falling and getting concussed on
    > unattended level crossings.


    There are really to tricks to getting safely across such features of
    the road. One is to be travelling with sufficient speed that you cross
    inside your natural oscillations (or wobble). The other is, as simon
    says, to cross as close to right angles as possible.

    In practice in wet weather, anything less than 30 degrees is probably a
    crash, anything over 60 degrees should be fine. between that gets
    dangerous. Crossing cattle grids slowly is also dangerous at any angle
    in the wet. For cattle grids, the faster the better.

    Avoid trying to cross any kind of slippery linear feature when leaning
    the bike. It really doesn't pay to be mocking the laws of physics like
    that.

    > So this makes some degree of sense, providing it is angled crossings
    > they're talking about.


    They should have a sign saying 'Motorists take care, cyclists will
    swerve'

    ...d
     
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