Railway Crossing Guidelines

Taken from Ontario Ministry of Transportation Cycling Skills

Railway and streetcar tracks are very dangerous. Crossing at the wrong angle, they can spill you and damage your bicycle wheels. Always cross the tracks at right angles. Plan your crossing well ahead of time, slow down and put yourself into the best road position to make a right-angle crossing.

If the tracks are at an angle to the road, you may need a full lane. Use hand signals to slow traffic behind you and give you room to cross the tracks safely. Go slowly and stand on the pedals when crossing over particularly bumpy tracks.

Shoulder check. Signal and shoulder check. Move left. Cross at right angle. Shoulder check, signal, shoulder check. Move back by curb.

Put yourself in the right position to cross the tracks well ahead of time. Shoulder check. Signal to drivers behind and shoulder check. Cross at right angles. Shoulder check. Signal and shoulder check. Move back by curb.

If it is too difficult to cross the tracks safely, dismount and walk your bike across instead. Even at slow speeds diagonal tracks can spill you.

Where tracks run parallel to the direction of vehicle travel, lane changing and left turns become extremely hazardous. Wait for breaks in traffic and cross the tracks at right angles. At tracked intersections where traffic is heavy and you want to turn left, walk your bike in the crosswalk.

While these MOT guidelines are for a single cyclist, for the purpose of our group rides, there are 3 additional important points to remember.

  1. The front riders must call out well in advance and use the appropriate behind-the-back hand signal when the group is approaching tracks.
  2. The group must slow down. Although this is important when you know that the tracks are at a bad angle, it is just important if the tracks are perpendicular. Until you are almost on top of the tracks, you don't know the condition of the road surface around the tracks and will not be able to react appropriately if you are approaching too fast.
  3. Spread out allowing the other riders in the group to approach the tracks slowly and at a wide enough angle to cross them safely.

Once everyone has crossed safely, you can regroup and resume your ride and your previous speed.