Friday, March 31, 2006

Competing for a Darwin Award?

We all know the hazards presented on our roads and the consequences that can accrue from momentary lapses of judgement by pedestrians and drivers. We're only human and it is fair to say that almost everyone has stories of lapses they regret later.

But some people's actions go beyond simple carelessness and enter the realm of active and extreme stupidity. It's as if they're conspiring to get a Darwin Award.

I saw such a case yesterday afternoon.

Many level crossings have pedestrian gates that shut when the boomgates are down. These often have 'bypass gates' so that it is possible to go around the automatic gates. These can be useful in special circumstances when authorised and qualified personnel are at hand.

If you're standing in front of the bypass gate minding your own business, it takes a special kind of fool to ask you to move so he can dart across the track when the boomgates are down and the bells are ringing!


leccy said...



Just one point though: surely the point of the bypass gate is to let you *off* the crossing if you are caught on the wrong side of the gates when a train arrives.

I've noticed that the Perth design has a handle low down, shielded from the outside by a perspex barrier to make it harder to open from the wrong side. I seem to remember that the Melbourne ones were just 'push to open' or with a standard gate catch at best.

Peter Parker said...

hdz - you're right; the gate in question had no catch, just a threaded bolt. This was to stop it being swung past the 'jamb'.

However a newer taller style of gate and maze is being installed in high pedestrian traffic areas.

Rubber matting is also now used; we've had problems with wheelchairs being stuck in the tracks at older-style crossings.