I stole the title from the Wednesday July 30 Edition of the Moorabbin Glen Eira Leader. (credit where credit is due:-))
One of my pet hates is railway crossings and the way people drive them. So whilst waiting for the bus (my other pet hate at the moment is my broken arm which meant I wasn’t at work and had to take public transport) last Friday at 2 in the afternoon I took photos at the North Road Frankston Line railway crossing. For the purpose of showing what I mean.
According to the road rules you are not allowed to cross a railway crossing at any point when the red lights are flashing! It has nothing to do with the status of the boom gate. None, a lot of railway crossings do not have boom gates, only flashing red lights.
123. Entering a level crossing when a train or tram is approaching etc.
A driver must not enter a level crossing if—
(a) warning lights (for example, twin red lights or rotating red lights) are
operating or warning bells are ringing; or
The interest bit is point one, not a sub sub clause, but the very first point here! Now to reality of railway crossings I deal with. I travel over the North Road Ormond Rail crossing twice a day every working day on my daily commute. Now two or three times a week I may get caught by a train. It happens, big deal. And occasionally I am one of the say first 5 cars in my lane. So train goes passed gates go up and you all know what happens. The drag race starts. The lights are still flashing. If I am not the lead car I will move up to the lights but not cross until time is up as much as I can. This works until you are the road block! Image sitting in your lane blocking traffic, all the while some idiot behind you is sitting on their horn. All because you are doing what you are LEGALLY meant too. All for a less than a minute whilst the lights still flash.
The best crossing in my area is where the railway crossing goes over Neerim road. The put in a set of traffic lights. Suddenly no one crosses the Red Traffic light. Flashing red lights and it is on for young and old however.
Now on July 30, the Leader has to story thanks to Victoria Police handing out press releases about an operation at my crossing and others in the area. According to the paper, and I am going to presume they are working off the earlier of the two press releases says 14 people were charged at two level crossings in my area. The later presses release says 46 were charged at these two crossings! However the press release is more generic so I will give the paper the benefit of the doubt.
But the other madness is here is that the local paper could have had a whole story that went way beyond the copy and paste of the press release. Image if the paper had taken the time to send one reporter down to the level crossings on any given day, forked out for a little foldaway chair and a thermos of coffee and given them a camera. At this point the story should have been. “Cops catch 14 people, we catch 400″. Or say “Speed Camera generate Revenue and require no Police to lift a finger, Railway Crossings require police to be on site, guess which one the Police Target!” O.k., so that is a bit long , but then I am not a headline writer .
Here are some numbers to consider. If the fine was $500 (it is up to $567 according the Leader’s article) and 12 people cross illegally on an average crossing, we have $6000, times two for both directions; we have $12,000 in revenue for the State Government for 1 crossing. Say that one crossing has 50 movements per day that is $600,000 in one day. Now if there were 50 crossings like this that is $30,000,000 dollars in one day. I am sure that money could go a long way in helping to make all level crossings safer.
Perhaps this would have been a better story for the Leader to have written. Granted would have taken a bit longer than the press release rehash
I have emailed this blog post to the author of the story, will let you now what happens )