Thursday 13 Jul 2006

MEDIA INVITATION: BEDFORD FESTIVAL GOERS URGED 'DON'T RUN THE RISK'

Region & Route:
London North Eastern & East Midlands
Eastern
Date: 15th & 16th July 2006 Location: Bedford River Festival, Pitch E27, Russell Park, Bedford Event: Network Rail will be fighting level crossing misuse in Bedford with a special stand at the Bedford River Festival for the “Don’t Run the Risk” safety campaign Network Rail brings its national “Don’t Run the Risk” level crossing campaign to the Bedford River Festival this weekend to give Bedford motorists and pedestrians life-saving safety advice. Level crossing misuse now represents the largest single risk of train accident on the railway and there are a number of level crossings on the Bedford to Bletchley line that suffer from misuse. There will be a special “Don’t Run the Risk” stand at the festival outlining the dangers of level crossing misuse and giving people facts and advice about how to use crossings safely. Network Rail’s Route Director Peter Strachan said: “Too many people die at level crossings every year – it is a senseless waste of life. With our ‘Don’t Run the Risk’ campaign our message to drivers and pedestrians is simple - level crossings are safe if used correctly, but if you run the risk the cost can be fatal. I hope lots of people will visit our stand over the weekend and hear our important safety messages that could one day save their life.” The ‘Don’t Run the Risk’ campaign aims to change the behaviour of level crossing users – to protect themselves and reduce the danger to train passengers. The £3m campaign features extensive nationwide and local advertising including spots on television and radio, and more than one million households have been targeted to receive information leaflets. The hard-hitting advertisements are an element of the most extensive public safety campaign ever run by the rail industry.

Notes to editors

Below are details about some of the most misused crossings along the Bedford to Bletchley line: • Woburn Sands Station Crossing, Lidlington Station Crossing, Ridgmont Station Crossing: - There have been several incidents of vehicle drivers ignoring the road traffic lights at these crossings and trying to beat the lowering barriers. This has sometimes resulted in them colliding with the crossing barriers and causing severe damage • Kempston Hardwick Station Crossing, Stewartby Station Crossing: - There have been incidents of drivers zig-zagging around the lowered barriers at these crossings and driving across the tracks when trains are approaching • Berry Lane Crossing (near Aspley Guise Station), Woburn Sands footpath crossing: - There have been reports of misuse at these crossings with pedestrians ignoring safety warnings and leaving crossing gates open after use Copies of the ‘Don’t Run the Risk’ television, radio and print adverts and images of level crossing misuse are available on request Level Crossing stats: • Level crossings are safe if used correctly • There are 7,674 level crossings in UK, with some 1,500 on public roads • 680 million vehicles use level crossings each year • At least four people chance their lives at levels crossings each day through misuse • One person a month is killed at level crossings, 13 in 2005 • In 2005 there were 229 near misses reported at level crossings and almost 1,200 reports of misuse • 96% of accidents at level crossings are caused by misuse – i.e. drivers ignoring red signals, barriers and klaxons

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