Robin Davis recently crashed while crossing train tracks at too narrow an angle. The tracks caught her wheel and she went down hard, sustaining serious injuries. She suggested repeating the recommendation on how to cross railroad tracks. This danger is further demonstrated in this terrifying video showing over 50 cyclists crashing while crossing railroad tracks. Several of the cyclists look to be quite seriously hurt.
Crossing a railroad track at a shallow angle runs the risk of your wheel catching on the metal rail or the gaps next to it. The danger is much greater when the tracks are wet or when breaking during the crossing. The simple key conclusion from the study associated with the video is that the crash rate is dramatically reduced when the crossing angle is greater than 30º and is eliminated at greater than 60º.
I know of a couple of risky skewed track crossings in our riding area. One is north bound on Winchester Blvd near 85 in Los Gatos; the other is where tracks cross Cox Ave. The key is to turn away from the tracks in advance, then veer back toward the tracks to cross them at a greater angle. Of course, if either turn puts you into the lane of traffic, you’ll need to make sure it is safe to do so.
If you know of other dangerous train track crossings, please comment on this safety tip on the web site.