Running and train tracks can be a dangerous combination

Getting exercise is important—especially in these stressful times. And now that the weather is nice, throwing on a pair of running shoes and heading out for a jog is the perfect way to stay in shape. But if your run takes you near or across railway tracks, you need to be extra cautious.
Running on, near, or across tracks can be extremely dangerous, especially if you’re wearing headphones that can keep you from hearing an approaching train. In April, a man in his 40s was killed by a train while jogging on the tracks in Calgary. Although passersby shouted warnings to him, the man didn’t hear them, or the approaching train, because he was wearing ear buds.
But running on tracks while wearing headphones isn’t the only risk. Not following railway warning signs and signals can also lead to tragedy. In February 2018, a jogger was killed by a train in Windsor, Ont., after he ducked around a lowered safety gate at a rail crossing. The man was believed to have also been wearing headphones and may not have heard the approaching train.
Following the rail safety rules is critical when running
If your next run takes you near railway tracks, remember, they aren’t a running path. Stay clear and follow these rail safety rules:
  • Stay off railway tracks. They’re private property and you’re trespassing if you’re using them as a running trail.
  • Use designated crossings. Only cross tracks at designated crossings and obey all railway warning signs and signals.
  • Keep one ear out. You can’t avoid getting hit by a train if you can’t hear it coming. When wearing headphones, keep one ear out near railway crossings.
  • Never assume tracks are abandoned. Even if train tracks look like they’re not in use, it doesn’t mean they’re inactive.
  • Don’t run next to tracks. Trains overhang the tracks by at least a metre in both directions; straps or other equipment may extend even further. If you’re on the right-of-way next to the tracks, you can be hit.
Now, lace up those shoes, and get running. And check out our resource page for other tips on how to stay safe around railway crossings, tracks and trains.