CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Infrastructure

Garve Level Crossing

(38 posts)
  • Started 2 months ago by HankChief
  • Latest reply from neddie

  1. HankChief
    Member

    The Garve Level Crossing on the A835 between Inverness and Ullapool (on the NC500) is regularly causing cyclists to crash as the crossing angle is very shallow.

    There are signs for cyclists to dismount but they aren't sufficient to prevent regular injuries, so can't be fit for purpose.

    I see huge similarities to the Edinburgh Trams and want something done about it before a more serious incident occurs. There has been at least 3 crashes requiring ambulances this year so far!

    I'm looking for a couple of volunteers to help me run a short campaign to get as complete a list of incidents as possible so that we can present them to the powers that be.

    A recent response from Network Rail said the signs we optimum and there was only 3 incidents in 10years (1 in 2016 & 2 in 2017).

    Anyone willing to help or know of someone who could?

    I don't expect it will be a long campaign or need much, but getting the message out to send us details and collating them should be sufficient for action.

    Please PM me your email address if you can help out.

    Thank you

    Posted 2 months ago #
  2. HankChief
    Member

    A tweet has gone out. Please retweet.

    And if you can think of any of your networks that would be good place to share this then please do so. We want to get the message out far & wide so that we can establish the full scale of the problem (and then get some action)

    Posted 2 months ago #
  3. Morningsider
    Member

    HC - You may have seen this. An FoI request to the Scottish Ambulance service, reply dated 14 July 2016 - stating that in the previous five years there had been one incident involving a cyclist at Garve level crossing.

    http://www.scottishambulance.com/TheService/FOIPapers.aspx?ID=625

    Posted 2 months ago #
  4. HankChief
    Member

    I have, thanks. And have just out the same FOI in again (it wasn't me last time).

    Posted 2 months ago #
  5. Rosie
    Member

  6. Morningsider
    Member

    Also seems to be an issue for Garve Community Council - who I get the feeling don't really like cyclists -

    "There appears to have been two cyclists falling at the Garve level crossing in separate incidents in the last ten days. It appears an ambulance has been called each time. It is believed there is only one ambulance based in Dingwall. As noted at last month’s ordinary meeting, we remind all cyclists that there is signage advising you to dismount as does The Highway Code (rule 82 & 306). PC Rose and BEAR have been asked for their comments on this issue in light of recent events and the fact this now appears to be happening almost on a monthly basis."

    From: http://www.community-council.org.uk/GarveandDistrict/

    Posted 2 months ago #
  7. HankChief
    Member

    Interesting. Thank you.

    I will link in with the Councillor who was present.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  8. HankChief
    Member

    If anyone coupd spare some time tonight /tomorrow that would be helpful.

    I need to get more evidence of fallers, so I want to proactively scan social media for people who have cycled the nc500 and ask them if they have had a crash.

    Just a one off exercise rather than a long term commitment.

    In other news the P&J are interested in the story...

    Posted 2 months ago #
  9. Frenchy
    Member

    @HankChief - don't think I can help later, but I did just find this (Facebook link). Blog from someone who fell off there, but it mentions that they were helped by the person who runs a catering van there, and who said this was the second fall they'd seen that day. Might be worth trying to get in touch with them, they probably have a far better idea of how common this is than anyone else.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  10. HankChief
    Member

    Thanks Frenchy. I have that one :-)

    I have been speaking to the cafe owner, who seems to do a lot of patching up. He doesn't have detailed records but does tell me there are lots (I get the impression he'd prefer not to have the hassle with sorting out cyclists).

    Posted 2 months ago #
  11. jonty
    Member

    Is someone nearby able to do a video indicating what the 'uninitiated tourist view' is, coming from both sides? From seeing pictures and from driving through, it feels a lot like the signs are probably easy to miss when you're concentrating on everything else and in a horrible place to actually dismount.

    Crossings where long/slow/heavy vehicles need permission to cross get a fair bit of advance warning and a layby to stop in. Having to dismount is even more unusual than that, so it feels like that should be the minimum standard for cycle provision here.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  12. HankChief
    Member

    https://youtu.be/q0FO0sHWgd8

    Posted 2 months ago #
  13. jonty
    Member

    Wow, it's worse than I realised. Grim.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  14. HankChief
    Member

    Have found a Strava Segment that will have everyone (on strava) that has crossed the tracks westbound.

    https://www.strava.com/segments/14489508

    Now I just need to find a way of seeing the titles of everyone's ride to see those that say something like 'Ouch' or similar. Anyone got any ideas on how to do it, without having to open up 1,700 individual rides?

    Or does anyone have capacity to open up 1,700 individual rides?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  15. HankChief
    Member

  16. Frenchy
    Member

    If you have this route on Strava yourself, you could create a fairly short segment of the crossing then start checking at the slowest end.

    From my limited experience with the Strava API, I don't think it's possible to automatically retrieve other people's data, which you'd need to do for your idea. Hopefully now that I've said it's not possible, someone will show that it is...

    Posted 2 months ago #
  17. HankChief
    Member

    I have Westbound, so will try that idea. I may come to regret it when there are still many activities to wade through of people stopping for a cup of tea...

    Posted 2 months ago #
  18. Cyclingmollie
    Member

    I remember seeing a YouTube video which featured the Garve level crossing. I think it was of an Audax in which case the video was almost certainly made by Damon Peacock. You could try contacting him.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  19. chrisfl
    Member

    So it looks like the strava API will return, the "name", elapsed time and moving time leaderboard for the segment, but as Frenchy said it doesn't link throught to the more detailed data. I can have a go at pulling the leaderboard data if that's useful?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  20. HankChief
    Member

    Chrisfl, if you are able to that would be very helpful.

    This is the shorter Westbound Segment https://www.strava.com/segments/17931346

    Cheers

    Posted 2 months ago #
  21. Frenchy
    Member

    I had a quick look at the last page of results for that segment - there's a few people making references to buckled wheels or hospital trips. Also a lot of people who seem to just be stopping for lunch at the hotel, but it looks like it should be possible to find at least some people who've had problems with this method.

    I'll try and dig more later.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  22. Tulyar
    Member

    I've posted a response to the video & responding the Hankchief's e-mail

    Here's the response

    The level crossing is Network Rail 'premises' and any incident requiring a stay in hospital should be reported to H&S Commission (and ORR) under the RIDDOR process. Other incidents should be reported to Network Rail as injury events on their premises as no train is involved and a cyclist landing on the crossing is unlikely to derail a train RAIB rarely takes an interest in investigating these crashes. I have the check-sheets for the level of reporting, and the RIDDOR forms.

    Whilst not technically a road that the Police would record crashes for Stats19, many officers will record this (noting that Stats20 gives an example of recording a single vehicle crash for a bicycle). Highland Council (unless the A835 is managed by a Roads Scotland contractor) may also be recording these crashes (Section 39)

    It might make a useful matrix to check the reported crashes, against the records logged with HSC/ORR, Network Rail, Police Scotland, Highland Council, Roads Scotland, and the local A&E/ambulance services.

    It does appear that the promotion of NC500 has increased the number of cyclists using Garve, most of the Outer Islands Tours tend to travel by car or coach from landing at Ullapool.

    Very extraordinarily this level crossing replaced the bridge in the mid 1980's and the original rubber crossing panels had major problems with the adverse loadings that 44T fish trucks placed on the road surface as there is a shallow reverse curve as the road crosses the railway. In the early years the original rubber panels would pop up when they got pulled loose bit the derailment at Croxton (2006) saw this addressed, and now the crossing has STRAIL panels. Noting the incident (Victory Crossing Taunton) where a wheelchair got stuck and was hit by a train (the user threw himself clear) the crossing at Garve has 2 clear pedestrian strips over a metre wide, with properly built up approaches.

    A rough measurement from Google Maps has the road plus pedestrian strips at approx 10-11 metres (a modern single carriageway road is 7.5-8 metres) The crossing length seems to read as 37 metres. I have not measured the skew, but this seems to be a slightly larger angle to the crossing at Aiskew on the A684 near Leeming (a popular route for many road clubs). This was a notorious crossing felling typically 1 rider per month with a serious injury, and killing a rider in 2007. In 2013 it was the first site in the UK to receive veloSTRAIL panels, and the problems vanished. The road at Aiskew is 7.3m between kerbs and the crossing is 42 metres long. Network Rail has had a programme of dealing with skew crossings including Springbank in Hull another site with a steady flow of falls (CyclingUK solicitors had 18-20 valid cases on their file at one time). The work is either done when the crossing is being replaced, or the 4-foot panels are switched over with a regular STRAIL crossing. Not all panels will need replacing as a strip on each side can be sufficient, and early systems need to be completely replaced.

    I would be very interested to know whether it really was the flangeway groove which felled the riders as pictures from 2015 (Google) show the concrete threshold kerbs where the rubber panels land and the tarmac butts up to the concrete, looking a bit rough. As you might have experienced, striking any step in the surface obliquely can also knock the wheels out from beneath you. Many experienced riders can pin point exactly what detail deflected their tyre, and the drop-into-slot crashes are often when the cyclist crosses too slowly and the turning force is greater than the forward inertia of the bike (usually when something forces them to slow down or change their original path across the rails)

    I'd be interested in developing this matrix of crash records, id the various sources/listings can be listed. Worth a tweet?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  23. neddie
    Member

    Saturday, June 11, 2016
    day one nc500
    an eventful day with casualties and buckled wheels

    https://www.strava.com/activities/612344894#40912698602

    Plural.

    Looks like a bad day for it...

    Posted 2 months ago #
  24. HankChief
    Member

    Making some headway on Garve... or rather made a lot of noise which is proving hard for people to ignore...

    Local MSP visits site

    And

    this tweet of a cyclist being hit by a following motorbike

    Transport Scotland are looking at high friction surface and rubber inserts but I've not yet heard if this is a definite and when they might be installed.

    I have various FOIs which should be landing back soon. Time will tell...

    Posted 1 month ago #
  25. gembo
    Member

    Good work Senor Hankchief

    Posted 1 month ago #
  26. Rob
    Member

    Anything that can be done to prevent people following too close behind that they're unable to stop in the event someone does come off? Chevrons maybe? Sign saying "Level crossing ahead, no overtaking, be prepared to stop" or similar?

    Posted 1 month ago #
  27. kenny
    Member

    They could put the light controlled narrow road bridge back.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  28. HankChief
    Member

    Not a bad idea (from both of you)...

    Meanwhile, Network Rail tell me they don't have a record of the crossing angles of their 5,810 level crossings and it would take too long to work them out.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  29. fimm
    Member

    The trouble is, the sign you actually need is

    "Dear cyclists, we know that you are used to ignoring "Cyclists Dismount" signs because most of them are stupid or pointless. However in this case it really, really, really is a good idea to dismount because the rails you are approaching really are dangerous. Thank you."

    but that isn't concise enough for purpose.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  30. rbrtwtmn
    Member

    "Meanwhile, Network Rail tell me they don't have a record of the crossing angles of their 5,810 level crossings and it would take too long to work them out."

    That sounds like a question for Twitter? Or at least Twitter could be asked "please let us know about level crossings with a crossing angle of less than about (choose an angle which people don't have to stop to measure).

    OSM could help. See for a generated map of level crossings (although with no attempt to filter this for live railway versus other things - a more advanced query might be possible):
    http://overpass-turbo.eu/s/A9C

    Posted 1 month ago #

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