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Man’s helmet ‘muffled’ train sound

Posted in: Motorcycle Accidents Public Transport Wrongful & Accidental Death 

A man was killed in May 2014 after failing to hear a train approaching at a level crossing because his crash helmet ‘muffled’ the sound. 37-year-old Paul Martin, from Stroud, had been crossing a train track in Gloucestershire on his trail bike when an oncoming train hit him. A report drawn up by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) following his death found that the nearby signage did not explain that trail bike riders were prohibited from using the Frampton level crossing. The RAIB said that Network Rail must greatly improve the “content” of its signs.

The accident happened when Mr Martin and two friends had been out on their trail bikes. Mr Martin was the last rider to reach the level crossing near the village of Sapperton on 11 May. Where nearby signs did warn vehicle users to use the crossing telephone to find out if the track was safe to cross, none of the riders did. The RAIB report stated that this was because the signage did not “grab their attention sufficiently” and the bikers believed that they could cross the track safely simply by looking.

“full-face crash helmet”

When the passenger-train approached the crossing, after coming round a sharp bend, a warning horn was sounded but the report stated that the rider most likely did not hear the horn because of his “full-face crash helmet”.

The RAIB has requested that Network Rail review their signage, “seek a better understanding of actual (not only permitted) use of level crossings”, and raise awareness of what vehicle users are not permitted to use them.

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