Stay Safe around the Tracks

MetroRail is a great service, and people have been relying on it for more than a decade to go into work, get to Austin’s many special events or simply find a spot to grab food and drinks with friends late on a Friday night. And this year has seen a host of new train lovers with the opening of Q2 Stadium and the first season for Austin FC.

It’s a perfect way to get to the soccer game with everyone in great spirits and getting ready for the game.

But you have to know, no one gets to have fun at the game (or at the brewpub or at the office … if you’ve got one of those kinds of offices) if you don’t get there safely.

Operation Lifesaver’s Rail Safety Week comes every September — this year’s is Sep. 20-26 — and we’d like to remind you of the absolute need to keep safe behavior around rail tracks at all times.

According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, a person or vehicle is struck by a train at a highway rail grade crossing every four hours? Trains can’t stop quickly. A freight train that is traveling 55 miles per hour can take more than a mile to stop, even if an emergency application of the brakes is applied.

Our MetroRail trains generally travel slower than that, but they’re still very large vehicles moving very fast. Don’t try them. They’ll win.

Follow these tips to stay safe and help reduce the number of incidents at rail tracks:

  • Stop if you see flashing red lights.
  • Only cross at a designated public crossing. Crossing at any other place is trespassing, illegal and dangerous.
  • Never walk around or behind lowered gates at a crossing.
  • Only cross if gate arms are up, lights have stopped flashing and bells have stopped ringing.

Be safe and be smart. If you are going to the game at Q2 Stadium, please look out for the flashing lights and rail arms and NEVER trespass by walking along tracks outside of designated public crossings.

Back to School Safety with CapMetro

With school back in session, it’s a great time to brush up on your knowledge of both rider and traffic safety. Whether you’re traveling using CapMetro, behind the wheel of your car, riding a bike or scooter, or commuting as a pedestrian, the number one key to safety is awareness.

To help you move around Austin safely and effectively, here are some traffic safety guidelines to keep in mind on the go.

Back to School Safety

  • Drive with extra caution near school campuses.
  • Watch out for students walking to & from bus stops.
  • Avoid distractions during your commute.
  • Everyone riding CapMetro is required wear a mask (including kids!).

Safety Tips for Riding CapMetro

  • Always use traffic lights and crosswalks, and obey all warning signals and railroad crossing gates.
  • When boarding and exiting, watch your step and do not cross in front of the vehicle.
  • Please stay back at least three feet from the curb and station platform edge while waiting for the bus or train
  • Standing while riding is permitted except on MetroAccess vehicles. Look for a pole or a strap to hold for safety
  • Sitting or standing in the doorway or the stairwell is never allowed.
  • If you need to remove your bike from the rack at the front of the bus, alert the operator as you exit.
  • Face masks are required while riding and waiting to ride. If you are feeling ill, please wait to ride until you are feeling If you see something, say something. Report suspicious activity using the CapMetro App or this webform. When riding MetroRail, use the intercom to reach the train engineer. Report emergencies or suspicious activity to any bus operator, uniformed personnel or call 911.

MetroRail Rider, Driver and Pedestrian Safety

  • Stand behind the white line on the platform while waiting for the train.
  • Stay clear of the tracks. If you are standing on or near the tracks, you may not see, hear or feel the vibration of an approaching train.
  • Photos on tracks can be deadly. Don’t risk your life for a selfie.
  • MetroRail trains are faster and quieter than freight trains and not required to blow horns in designated quiet zones.
  • Cross tracks only at designated crossings and never cross tracks when the gates are down or lowering.
  • Do not try to beat the train to a crossing when driving. Stop at least 15 feet from rail crossings.
  • Never stop on the tracks.
  • Capital Metro has a zero-tolerance policy for trespassing within the railroad right-of-way.

Traffic Safety for Drivers

  • Stay alert and on the lookout for pedestrians, people riding bikes or scooters, and CapMetro vehicles.
  • Please slow down and obey speed limits, respect traffic signs, and avoid distractions.
  • Stay alert for buses as they stop for passenger boarding.
  • When you approach railroads, be cautious. Stop, look both ways and listen for a train before crossing. Respect flashing red lights, do not drive around the lowered bar and never stop on the tracks.

Bike and Scooter Safety

  • Ride with the flow of traffic, to the right in the same direction as other vehicles.
  • Obey traffic laws; a bicycle is a vehicle and you’re a driver!
  • Stay alert for both vehicles and pedestrians as you ride. Avoid using headphones in both ears as to not block out potentially important sounds like horns, railroad crossing bells, etc.
  • Plan your trip before you begin your ride and come to a stop in a safe location before checking your phone.
  • You know not to drink and drive, but don’t drink and ride either. The same laws apply to cycling while intoxicated, so find a safe ride home that doesn’t involve you behind the wheel or the handlebars.
  • If you’re renting a bike or scooter, be sure to park it in a dock or safe place out of the way for other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Motorized bikes and scooters are not permitted on city trails.
  • Wear brightly colored clothing and especially light colors at night.

Pedestrian Safety

  • Stay alert and pause your music or podcast while traveling through busy areas to ensure you can hear warning signals from nearby drivers.
  • Obey the traffic signs and watch for vehicles.
  • Use crosswalks and do not walk along railroad tracks.

While these following these tips is sure to keep you safe as you travel, you can find even more safety information over on our website. Here’s to a safe school year, in the classroom and on the road!

P.S. Don’t forget that students K-12 ride free, UT students ride free with a valid UT student ID and ACC students ride free with a green pass!

Be Patient and Stay Safe: Vehicle and Pedestrian Rail Safety 

Did you know that, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration, a person or vehicle is struck by a train at a highway rail grade crossing every four hours? Trains can’t stop quickly. A freight train that is traveling 55 miles per hour can take more than a mile to stop, even if an emergency application of the brakes is applied.

 

In 2019, Texas ranked as the state with the most collisions in the U.S. with a total of 251 highway-rail grade crossing collisions. As a result, 31 people lost their lives and 123 were injured. Never try to beat a train! Follow these tips to stay safe and help us reduce the number of incidents at rail crossings:

  • Stop if you see flashing red lights
  • Only cross at a highway-rail grade crossing
  • Only cross if gate arms are up, lights have stopped flashing and bells have stopped ringing

In 2019, the state of Texas also ranked as the state with the second highest pedestrian rail trespassing casualties with a total of 100, out of which 44 lost their lives and 56 resulted in  injuries. If you are walking near a train, remember:

  • Only cross at a designated public crossing. Crossing at any other place is trespassing, illegal and dangerous
  • Never walk around or behind lowered gates at a crossing
  • Only cross if gate arms are up, lights have stopped flashing and bells have stopped ringing
  • Look both ways before crossing tracks

Don’t become part of the statistics. Follow these tips and help us reduce the number of highway-rail grade crossing collisions and trespassing casualties. Remember, be patient and stay safe!

Pedestrian Rail Safety

Operation Lifesaver, the national rail safety education nonprofit, will celebrate Rail Safety Week from September 22-28. In honor of that, we’ll spend the month of September, sharing safety tips and recommendations to Austin’s pedestrians and drivers to travel safely and effectively.

Let’s raise rail safety awareness together not just in September, but all year long to make our commute even safer; so whether you’re on foot, or behind wheels, these tips will help us all travel safely and efficiently.

Austin is such a great city for walking, so we’d like to kick off our rail safety efforts with our foot travelers. The most basic tip when crossing pathways: only cross at the marked crosswalks. Make sure to keep an eye on the signs and safety signals. If you avoid distractions, like your phone, music or conversations, then you can avoid accidents. It’s that easy!

Now, we know a good selfie will get you the most likes but, there’s no such thing as a selfie to die for. Railroad tracks aren’t the place for pictures. It’s not safe to take selfies or photos on the tracks. And remember, it’s illegal and dangerous.

As a pedestrian, you have to stay alert — always! Remember that when you’re approaching train tracks, you have to stop and look both ways. Just like Mom taught you but with one more step: listen. Make sure you listen for incoming trains before crossing. Just remember: stop, look and listen!

This September, keep a lookout for our tips and tricks dedicated to Rail Safety. At Capital Metro, your safety is our priority!