A recent accident in Jacksonville in which a 42-year-old man was hit by a train while crossing the McQuade Street intersection with his bike serves as a reminder that bikers and other need to pay strict attention at railway crossings. The biker had stopped to let a northbound freight train cross, but then rode his bike through the crossing’s flashing lights and lowered crossing arms. The bicyclist, who was wearing headphones as he rode, likely didn’t hear a southbound Amtrak train approaching from the other direction. He was hit by this second train and taken to the UF Health Jacksonville hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries.
Safety at railroad crossings
Trains take a long time to come to a complete stop, so even if a conductor or engineer spots you on the tracks, it will likely be impossible to stop the train in time to avoid a collision. For this reason, it is essential that bicyclists and drivers take steps to be safe at railroad crossings.
- Never stop on the tracks. If your vehicle loses power, leave it as soon as warning lights start flashing.
- Remain stopped until signals end. Just because it seems that danger has passed doesn’t mean it will be safe to cross. Wait until all traffic signals and crossing arms have cleared to bike or drive across.
- Look both ways. Traffic signals could be damaged or not activate properly, so make it a point to actually look for approaching trains before crossing.
- Turn down the music and take off your headphones as you approach a railroad crossing. Listen for the sound of a train or any signals.
Bicyclists should take extreme care, as they can be harder for train operators to see than those driving other vehicles. If you have been hurt in any type of accident caused by the negligence of another person while riding your bike, you may have rights under Florida law. To learn more, contact a knowledgeable Bradenton bicycle accident attorney at the firm of Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh.