Safety message out there
One of New Zealand’s bestknown cricketers will never stop beating the drum about being safe around rail crossings.
Chris Cairns spearheaded Rail Safety Week last week, in its sixth year, which aims to urge pedestrians and motorists to act responsibly around crossings. His sister Louise was killed at a level crossing in 1993 when the train she was a passenger on was hit by a truck that had failed to stop.
Mr Cairns told Kapi-Mana News that while the focus in the past has been on motorists, this year it was pedestrians. Since 2000, 147 pedestrians have died on railway tracks, with 126 of these classed as trespass – people taking short cuts across tracks, using tracks as a footpath or loitering around railway property.
There have been 30 trespassing incidents in the past seven months, seven in this region.
Mr Cairns, police and two actors dressed as rail crossings were at the Linden Ave crossing in Tawa on Monday to promote being safe when walking across railway lines.
‘‘ The amount of people using trains is trending up, but they are not taking that awareness factor with them. You see it so often – they have their iPods or phones on or just ignore the bells and barriers. You shouldn’t rely on your hearing, you need to use your eyes. One death is too many and we want commuters, walkers and schoolkids to appreciate the environment they’re in.’’
Mr Cairns said the effect on rail staff when someone is injured or killed on rail crossings or tracks must be considered as well.
He also travelled to the West Coast, New Plymouth, Tauranga, Auckland and Ashburton to deliver his message.
Careful crossing: Chris Cairns and one of two actors in crossing costumes handed out ‘Use Your Brain, Tracks Are For Trains’ leaflets last week. Flynn Cubitt from Tawa Intermediate got the message.