Melbourne's railway operator Metro is using black comedy in a bid to stop people risking their lives at railway stations and level crossings, releasing a song and video called Dumb Ways to Die.
The infectious tune has an animated film clip filled with cartoon characters dying while doing Darwin Award-winning acts, such as poking grizzly bears with sticks, eating rotten pies and skinny-dipping in piranha-infested waters.
It ends with three characters being killed by falling off a station platform into the path of a speeding train, driving around boom gates, and walking across train tracks, to the line "these must be some of the dumbest ways to die".
The video is targeted at a younger audience and will lead a campaign called Be Safe Around Trains, to be launched on Monday. It was leaked to Fairfax Media today.
Metro's spokesman Daniel Hoare said the campaign was an attempt to take a progressive approach to safety warnings, in the hope it would reach an audience generally resistant to the more typical po-faced lectures.
"We set out to find an innovative way to reach young people who see themselves as indestructible," Mr Hoare said.
"We felt images of body bags were more likely to have an impact on their parents, so we wanted to engage with young people in a way we think might appeal to them a bit more."
Mr Hoare said Metro was prepared for a backlash from some people who might take offence at its use of humour to tackle a problem that causes multiple deaths every year.
"Some people might have an issue with us making light of what is a serious topic, but if we can save one life or avoid serious injury, then that's how we'll measure the success of this campaign," he said.
"Every week our staff witness serious accidents or near misses across our network. We hope people can engage with what we think is a catchy song and they might think twice before taking risks around trains."
Metro recorded 979 slips, trips and falls by passengers in its annual safety report for 2011-12, with injuries ranging from minor wounds to serious injuries to the head and face.
It reported 23 collisions between a train and a person, not counting suicides or attempted suicides. Six pedestrians were hit at a level crossing, two of whom were killed.
There were also 11 collisions with vehicles at level crossings, three of which resulted in a death, and 74 near misses.
The annual report's figures do not include the recent major collision between a train and a prime mover on the Cranbourne line, in which one passenger was killed and 13 people were injured, including the train driver.
The story Dumb death: Shock tactics to promote safety message first appeared on The Age.