Cairns leads Rail Safety Week
One of New Zealand's best-known cricketers will never stop beating the drum about being safe around rail crossings.
Chris Cairns is spearheading Rail Safety Week, in its sixth year, which aims to urge pedestrians and motorists to act responsibly around crossings. He has a personal connection to the issue, with his sister Louise killed when the train she was a passenger in hit a truck that had failed to stop on a level crossing in 1993.
Cairns told Kapi-Mana News that while the focus in the past has been motorists, this year it is to pedestrians. Since 2000, 147 pedestrians have died on railway tracks, with 126 of these classified as trespass - taking short cuts across tracks, using tracks as a footpath or loitering around railway property.
There have been 30 trespassing incidents in the past seven months, seven in this region.
Cairns, police and two actors dressed as rail crossings were at the Linden Ave crossing in Tawa on Monday to promote being safe when walking across railway lines.
''The amount of people using trains is trending up, but they are not taking that awareness factor with them. You see it so often - they have their iPods or phones on or just ignore the bells and barriers. You shouldn't rely on your hearing, you need to use your eyes. One death is too many and we want commuters, walkers and schoolkids to appreciate the environment they're in.''
Cairns says the effect on rail staff when someone is injured or killed on rail crossings or tracks must be considered as well.
Kiwirail and the Chris Cairns Foundation are co-ordinating Rail Safety Week, which is happening here and in Australia.
Cairns will also travel to the West Coast, New Plymouth, Tauranga, Auckland and Ashburton to deliver his message.