How to Cross a Railroad
Crossing railroads can be tricky, so it’s important for cyclists to always be aware of their surroundings. Pay attention to railroad signs and sounds to know when it’s safe to cross. Also, depending on the weather, the tracks may be slippery. Neglecting these crucial factors can be hazardous to a cyclist’s safety.
Are you ready to try it out? Watch our 60-second video above for an overview and follow the steps below, next time you are crossing a railroad.
Next time you CROSS A RAILROAD, follow these steps:
1. Slow down and come to a complete stop
Before crossing a railroad, slow down, and come to a complete stop. Similar to a stop sign, there is white stop-line designed for stopping at a safe distance from the railroad. Be sure to count to three before proceeding across the tracks.
2. Look both ways
Look both ways for an oncoming train. If the coast is clear, you’re ready to cross. Even if the arm is down and a train is approaching, don’t forget to still stop and look.
3. Always cross at a 90 degree angle
Make sure your tires run perpendicular with the tracks. This prevents sliding or catching your wheel in the tracks.
4. Take extra precaution when the tracks are wet
Wet tracks = less traction for your wheels. Under wet conditions, it’s important to take those extra seconds to ensure your safety. Don’t get caught slipping!
5. Keep bike pedals at level heights
To improve balance, keep your pedals level as you smoothly coast across the tracks.
6. Stand on your bike out of the saddle
It’s helpful to stand on your bike pedals out of the saddle. While standing, loosen your elbows to absorb the shock of the tracks.
7. Always be aware of railroad signs
Railroad signs communicate when it’s safe to cross. Take note of the signs around you and what they mean before deciding to cross.
8. Never cross when the lights are flashing and the arm is down
The railroad lights and arm are designed for your safety. When the lights are flashing and the arm is down, this means a train is approaching.
Crossing a railroad is easy once you become familiar with reading the signs and taking the proper steps. On your next trip, remember these steps and feel free to share them with a friend!
Sign up for Bike Pittsburgh’s newsletter, The Messenger, to get the latest news on events, bike and pedestrian infrastructure, and fun, delivered straight to your inbox. Twice monthly emails, no spam.