The Point: Rail Safety Month in September Encourages Commuters and Students to be “Rail Safe”.

The Riverside County Transportation Commission is reminding county residents this month that rail safety is critical, especially as students head back to school.

This September, RCTC is partnering with numerous organizations to spread the word about “Rail Safety Month” in an effort to decrease injuries and fatalities related to illegal rail crossings. Sadly, California leads the nation in trespassing and grade crossing fatalities.

As a part of California Operation Lifesaver, RCTC hosted a September 6 press conference and encouraged residents to educate themselves about rail safety and share rail safety tips. The event featured many of our safety partners, including the City of Riverside, Metrolink, Riverside Unified School District, and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. A group of Riverside high school students provided rail safety reminders throughout the event.

“We have 70 rail crossings with more than 128 trains passing through our city everyday, so it is vital to reinforce rail safety among students and motorists,” said City of Riverside Mayor and RCTC Commissioner Rusty Bailey. “This month, rail safety messages will be distributed to students and integrated into lesson plans. It’s a great opportunity to ensure our children remain safe in our communities.”

With the 91/Perris Valley Line now operating and more rail connectivity on the way, RCTC knows that rail provides a valuable and affordable choice for commuters and that freight rail helps power our economy. It is vital, however, to spread the word about rail safety. Keep in mind…

  • The only safe place to cross the railroad tracks is at a designated public crossing.
  • It can take a mile or more to stop a train, so a locomotive engineer who sees someone on the tracks likely will be unable to stop in time to avoid a collision.
  • Railroad property is private property. For your safety, it is illegal to be there unless you are at a designated public crossing.
  • Trains overhang the tracks at least three feet in both directions. If you are in the right of way next to the tracks, you can be hit by the train.
  • Never walk around or behind lowered gates at a crossing, and do not cross the tracks until the lights have stopped flashing and it’s safe to do so.
  • Be aware that freight trains do not always follow set schedules.
  • For more information, visit https://oli.org/

Later this month, RCTC will join other organizations throughout the nation to mark Rail Safety Week, September 24-30. RCTC will join California Operation Lifesaver to bring awareness to communities throughout Riverside County through Farmers Markets, school presentations, back to school activities at UC Riverside, and other community events. RCTC also will launch a poster contest for schools in Riverside, Moreno Valley, Perris, Jurupa Valley, Beaumont and Banning to give students an opportunity to win prizes by using artwork to convey rail safety messages.

California Operation Lifesaver also is promoting #SaveLivesTell5 to urge community members to share rail safety information with five friends or family members – an effort that could save the lives of loved ones.