Posted on Apr 25, 2019

Should you need to cross the rails, do so in the safest manner possible.

Most cyclists are familiar with how to properly handle railroad crossings when they intersect roadways. Stop at the signal, don’t try to beat the train and so on. But often times, riders may encounter railroads that run parallel to their roadways, sometimes running straight through them in the case of trolley and streetcar tracks.

First and foremost, riders are advised to keep their tires away from the slots and grooves of the rails. These present the serious risk of catching on your wheels and throwing riders from their bikes. Pay attention to the road and don’t drift into the rails. Should you need to cross the rails, do so in the safest manner possible.

Riders should approach these tracks at a minimum of a 45-degree angle to the direction they run. This may mean swerving in your lane to cross and then swerving back on the other side. This is essential to avoid having your tires getting caught in the track. It can also help riders to accelerate slightly as they cross the tracks to take some weight off of their front tire, further reducing the chances of getting thrown from the bike.

It's also important to be aware of any slick surfaces. Snow and rain can make rails and aprons incredibly slippery and difficult to traverse. Riders should be cautious of these situations and always assume that conditions are worse than they are and ride accordingly.

Finally, always be aware of rail traffic. Knowing how to properly cross these railroad tracks is pointless if you are totally ignorant of the rest of your surroundings. Keep your eyes peeled for trains or trolleys approaching you and provide plenty of space for passing vehicles. Rail vehicles often overhang their tracks by up to two or three feet. Assume they take up more space than they do and proceed cautiously when around them. 

Hupy and Abraham greatly values the safety of motorcycle riders and has represented thousands of injured bikers over our 50-year history. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, call the attorneys with the proven skills to handle your case. Our offices can be reached at 800-800-5678 or via online chat 24/7 at


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Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.