Mobility device users: Use caution around tracks

Using a mobility device such as a wheelchair, walker or scooter can have its challenges—and train tracks can be one of them. The wheels of these devices can get stuck in tracks and this can lead to tragedy.

Last month, a California police officer stepped in front of a speeding train to rescue a man in a wheelchair who was stuck on the tracks. A dramatic video shows the officer pulling the man off the tracks just seconds before a train crashed into his motorized chair.
Unfortunately, not all stories have such a happy ending.
In May 2018, two women in Chilliwack, B.C., tried to save a man in a wheelchair who was stuck on the tracks at a railway crossing. Unfortunately, the man was hit and killed by a train and one of the women suffered serious injuries to her hand while trying to pull him off the tracks.

Follow these rail safety tips to avoid tragedies

If you use a wheeled mobility device, you will likely come across train tracks at some point. Follow these tips to ensure you stay safe:
  • Only use designated railway crossings, where the tracks are most level with the ground. You could get stuck or fall trying to cross tracks at any other place.
  • Stop, look both ways and listen for approaching trains. Proceed only if you are sure it is safe to do so. If a train is approaching, or if railway warning signals are activated, stop behind any gates or stop lines—or no closer than 5 metres from the nearest rail—and wait for the train to pass.
  • Plan your crossing. Establish your position so you can cross the tracks at a 90-degree angle, or as close to it as possible.
  • Proceed with caution. Tracks can be slippery, especially when wet, and the wheels of your mobility device could skid if you cross too fast or don’t cross at a right angle.
  • Get help if you get stuck. If your mobility device breaks down or gets stuck at a railway crossing, you need to get away from the tracks immediately. Ask passing pedestrians, cyclists or motorists to help get you out of your mobility device and moved to safe distance away from the tracks.

Knowing—and following—these simple tips could save your life. Check out our website for more lifesaving tips. And follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share the rail safety message with your friends and family.