ATVers: If you’re off-roading, be rail-safe

There’s nothing quite like jumping in the saddle of an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and heading out on an off-road adventure. But Operation Lifesaver (OL) wants ATV riders to ask themselves: Do you know how to stay rail safe?

Whether you’re with a group of friends or taking your kids for a ride, you’re responsible for operating that vehicle safely. Unfortunately, not all drivers exercise caution, especially around railway tracks and property. That’s why OL produced a virtual-reality video to help ATV drivers understand the consequences of unsafe behaviour.

Experience just how quickly and silently a train can approach

OL’s Look. Listen. Live. virtual-reality video is aimed at preventing collisions between trains and ATVs.  The video immerses viewers in a 3D environment, and gives them the shocking—and hopefully unforgettable—experience of being hit by a train. In October, the video was shown in Cineplex movie theatres across Canada to help OL’s safety message reach more people.

“Our message to ATVers is simple: go off road, but stay off railway tracks and property,” says Sarah Mayes, National Director of Operation Lifesaver Canada. “Trains often carry cargo that is much wider than the tracks, and can seriously injure or kill a rider alongside it. ATVs also tend to have loud engines—and when you’re wearing a helmet, that can mask the sound of an oncoming train.”

Follow these lifesaving rail-safety tips

To help keep you and those you’re riding with safe, make sure you know what to do when you’re near railway tracks: 
  • Even riding next to tracks could put you in danger, so stay well away from them. Locomotives and rail cars are wider than the rails, extending by about a metre on each side, and railway bridges and tunnels are only made for trains—leaving little to no room for you and your ATV. So stay off and stay safe.
  • Only cross tracks at designated crossings, and only when you’re certain it’s safe to do so. As you approach a crossing, look in both directions and listen for oncoming trains. If you see a train approaching, or if the warning signals at the railway crossing are activated, stop and wait a safe distance from the tracks, behind any stop line, gate, or at least 5 metres away from the nearest rail. Once the train has passed and the warning lights have stopped flashing, look both ways again before crossing.
Don’t be a rail safety statistic. Get out there and enjoy some great fall adventures, but heed Operation Lifesaver’s lifesaving rail safety advice. Stay rail safe!