A Holiday Message from Parachute, Our Partners in Safety

By Steve Podborski
President and CEO, Parachute
The winter holidays are upon us. For some, that means travelling to visit family members in other communities, or other provinces. For others, the time might provide opportunities to go out for hikes or cross-country skiing.
We all have a lot of things on our minds at this time of year: whether we’re shopping for presents or getting to social events or the kids’ holiday concert, we’re on the go. And my wish for our holidays in 2017 is that we all get to where we want to go safely, in one piece.
As our friends at Operation Lifesaver point out, being sensible when it comes to rail tracks and rail traffic is one of the ways we can remain safe over the holidays, and all year round.
Our team at Parachute promotes these five tips to help us all “cross safe.”
Put away devices: Don’t let your headphones, cellphone, tablet, or other gadgets distract you from seeing or hearing a train.
Obey rail signals and lights: Mind the signals, even if you can’t see a train. Today’s trains are faster and quieter than ever before.
Never try to outrun a train: Whether walking, cycling or driving, never try to beat the train. I can move faster than most people, having trained as a downhill ski racer, but even I don’t tempt fate at a crossing.
Don’t trespass: While train tracks might seem like tempting shortcuts, or a cleared pathway through the countryside, stay off rail tracks and out of railway yards and tunnels. These places aren’t meant for public access.
And finally, be “selfie smart.” I didn’t realize until recently that it’s a “thing” these days to take portraits and other artsy images on rail tracks. (Go on: Google search “portraits on rail tracks.”)  This is one trend that needs to be stopped in its tracks, starting with you.  
For in the end what matters most? Shaving a few moments off your journey by trying to beat a train? Getting a trendy track pic? Or being with the people you love to celebrate together? To me, the choice is clear. 
Steve Podborski, World Downhill Ski Champion and business leader, is President and CEO of Parachute, Canada’s leading charity devoted to injury prevention education and advocacy.