A New Year Wish from Operation Lifesaver

It’s a new year—and with it comes the opportunity for a fresh start and the chance to break old habits. Many of us have already written our list of resolutions for 2018. Inevitably, those lists will include things to help us lead healthier and happier lives: eating better, working out more, getting more sleep. But at Operation Lifesaver, we want every Canadian to add something even more important to that list: a commitment to practising rail safety in their day-to-day lives.
In 2017, too many Canadians were seriously injured or killed because they engaged in unsafe behaviour around trains. Whether these deaths or injuries happened as a result of trespassing on railway property or collisions at railway crossings, the tragedy is that each and every one of them could have been prevented. That is why, as we start this new year, we’re determined to ensure that Canadians of all ages understand the risks around railway crossings and property, and with not abiding by the rail safety rules.
Let’s make 2018 a year that is memorable for all the right reasons. Have a safe and happy new year! And learn—and live by—these simple rules:
Stay Off the Tracks: Never walk, cycle or drive along railway tracks. Trains can go as fast as 160 km/h and can take up to 2 kilometres to come to a complete stop. That’s the length of 18 football fields.
Keep Off All Railway Property: Railway yards, tunnels and bridges are all private property. If you are caught trespassing on them, you could be fined up to $50,000. But it isn’t just illegal to trespass on railway property—it’s extremely dangerous.
Use Designated Railway Crossings: Trying to cross tracks anywhere else could be deadly. Remember, trains can come at any time, in either direction. They also don’t always run on a set schedule.
Obey All Railway Signs and Signals: Before proceeding through a crossing, look both ways and listen for an approaching train. Cross only if you have a clear view and are sure the train has passed, the warning signals have ceased and no other train is approaching.
Stay Alert Around Railway Crossing and Tracks: You can’t avoid getting struck by a train if you can’t hear it or see it coming. Don’t be distracted by music, cell phones, or other devices when near a railway crossing.
Keep a Safe Distance from Tracks: Trains can overhang the tracks by as much as 1 metre on each side. They can also carry loads that are wider than the railway cars themselves. So, stay clear.
We need all Canadians to work together to help us spread our rail safety message and to personally take up our challenge to learn—and follow—these simple rules. It could make the difference between life and death for hundreds of Canadians in the coming year.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy and safe New Year.
Sarah Mayes
National Director, Operation Lifesaver Canada