Cyclist trapped on railway tracks in video defends herself

CCTV footage of the cyclist, seen in pink, just before getting caught on the tracks at the Roundstone level crossing in East Preston. Picture: Network Rail
CCTV footage of the cyclist, seen in pink, just before getting caught on the tracks at the Roundstone level crossing in East Preston. Picture: Network Rail

The cyclist who was trapped on railway tracks at a level crossing has defended herself.

A video released by Network Rail on Friday, October 6, showed a woman getting stuck on the railway tracks at the Roundstone level crossing in East Preston after cycling through a red light as the barriers came down.

It drew criticism from the online community, but the lady in question has come forward to explain her actions.

The cyclist, who has asked to be anonymous due to her job, recently moved to the area and said tiredness, her right brake not working and a condition called dyspraxia contributed to the incident.

She also disagreed with being labelled as ‘reckless’, but was instead ‘over-worked, over-tired and affected by a minor disability’.

She said: “I understand and am well aware of the dangers level crossings pose to cyclists and pedestrians and contrary to what your readers seem to believe would never attempt to speed through one.

“I have a condition called dyspraxia which often inhibits my coordination and means the processing-gap between thinking something and doing it is a lot larger than it would be for most people.

“I don’t drive – thankfully – as this would probably make me a danger to pedestrians and other motorists. After many years of physio and occupational therapy I’m much improved. However on mornings such as the one in question (I was at that point seven days into a nine-day week) my reaction times are extremely slow.

“Despite what the footage may suggest, I did attempt to brake when I found myself within a meter of the crossing as the barrier was coming down.

“But to make matters even worse my right brake failed and I sped through regardless. If I appear to duck it’s only for fear of being hit in the process.

“I’m eternally grateful to the signal controller for raising the barrier when he did as I was generally fearing for my life.”

When she made it to work that morning, she said she immediately called the police to explain what happened, her local bike repair service to have her brake cables tightened and her mother, as she was ‘utterly shaken and grateful to be alive’.

She said the police were ‘extremely kind and understanding’: “They accepted that I had not meant to run the lights, had endured a dreadful fright and such an event would never happen again.”

People took to social media to criticise the lady for her actions, and she said she was ‘upset’ by some of the comments and ‘feared for her safety’.

She said: “Enduring a mini panic-attack every time I hear the level-crossing siren is punishment enough for my lapse of concentration without feeling the stares of those I don’t even know on my way to and from work.

“It sounds drastic to say I might have to move but when you’re new to an area it can be quite hard to fit into a community that doesn’t know you but wants your head on a spike.”

She said the fact she was ‘neither fined nor cautioned speaks for itself’: “I accept that cyclists have a responsibility to remain awake, alert and in full control of their wheels for the safety of all road-users and will take steps to ensure I’m never put in a similar position.”