POLICE were left "staggered" yesterday as pedestrians illegally crossed railway tracks, ironically during the launch of a rail crossing safety blitz.
Even with four senior police officers manning the boom gates at the Lydiard Street crossing, one pedestrian still broke the law by walking across the train tracks with a train fast approaching.
His behaviour did not come as a surprise to police, who said they were constantly amazed by the number of people who risked their lives by illegally crossing train tracks.
A blitz on pedestrian and motorist behaviour around level crossings was launched by Victoria Police and V/Line after a string of recent incidents and near-misses on train tracks.
The blitz will set about educating people about the dangers of disobeying warning signs, while punishing those who still choose to break the law.
Ballarat police Acting Inspector Karl Curran said the amount of people who willingly put their lives on the line, rather than choosing to wait a few seconds, beggared belief.
"It staggers me that people put their own lives at risk," he said.
Fines for motorists disobeying level crossing warnings are $611 and four demerit points, while adults pedestrians will earn a $299 ticket if they cross illegally.
V/Line chief executive officer Rob Barnett said inattention around train tracks was a genuine concern, especially with people who listen to music.
"Level crossing accidents can have a devastating impact not just for the victims, but also their families, emergency services and our staff," he said.
A Facebook page has been set up as part of the launch. Visit www.facebook.com/eyewatchpublictransportpolice to report risky behaviour.