Why troubled teens are risking their lives in an alarming new social media trend called ‘buffer riding’
- Buffer driving is on the rise in Australia
- Authorities warn the craze could be deadly
Teenagers are risking their lives in a dangerous new craze involving riding on the outside of speeding train cars and filming themselves for social media.
Transport authorities are cracking down on so-called ‘buffer driving’ in which those who do it – almost always young men – dangle precariously from the outside of trains traveling at over 100 km/h.
Since 2021, the number of reported buffer driving incidents has risen by 13 percent and two people have died after being hit by oncoming trains in the past 12 months alone, Sydney Trains said.
Shocking footage shows the youth jumping onto the back of trains as they drive away from the station or swinging out of open wagon doors and clambering onto the roofs of moving vehicles.
“I use it as a form of therapy for what’s going on at home,” a young buffer runner told 7News on Monday.
“I had a TikTok of mine doing it with a million views,” said another.
Those doing the stunt often upload video to TikTok or other platforms in search of views
Transport bosses are cracking down on the risky behavior (photo)
A teenager crouches on a railing as a train pulls away from the station
Some of those in the group of friends have been driving as a buffer since the age of 12 and often break into drivers’ cabs or inaccessible parts of the rail network.
“I jumped off a moving train into the water near Tempe,” said another of the group.
Fines for entering rail corridors range from a few hundred dollars in most parts of Australia to a few thousand dollars in metropolitan networks.
Anyone entering trespassing – outside a train car on railway tracks – in the Sydney Trains network can be hit with a $5,500 fine.
But for minors, in almost every case, they walk away with nothing more than caution.
“The punishments are decent and it will probably take someone else to get hurt before they change this behaviour,” said Jessica Sharpe, Sydney Train’s chief of security.
One of the boys said they had been caught out a few times and it hadn’t discouraged them, but another of the group admitted that if one of his friends got hurt he would ‘probably think twice’.
The same teenager then tries to make his way to the roof of the coach
Another teen jumps on the back of a train in nothing more than shorts
Sydney Trains chief executive Matt Longland said CCTV was being used to identify offenders and NSW police are being called in to help.
“We want to warn them that this is an extremely dangerous and stupid thing to do; it only takes one misstep and your life could be over,” Longland said.
“One mistake can not only destroy your own life, but also cause untold heartache and grief to your family and friends.
“All too often we see lives lost by people trespassing in the live rail corridor.
‘It only takes a train that accelerates or brakes quickly, or passes close to the infrastructure, to get someone on the track.
“If the fall itself doesn’t kill you, the next train that comes along probably will.”
Superintendent Cath Bradbury, Superintendent Cath Bradbury, said there was a real risk of someone being seriously injured.
“The Police Transport Command is working closely with our transport partners to use the necessary resources, including CCTV, to detect, identify and deal with offenders,” Bradbury said.
“We are also urging commuters to report ‘buffer driving’ and other anti-social or criminal behavior to Crime Stoppers.”