Cyclist hits Caltrain?

Got a text message from a friend that the northbound train he was on struck a cyclist at the Redwood City station. A horrible accident apparently resulting from the cyclist crossing at a street where the crossing guards were down, but the cyclist chose to cross anyway, and apparently struck the train, rather than the other way around. No word on the condition of the rider. I rode the Caltrain numerous times before I’d moved into the city proper, and personally had two experiences with the train hitting pedestrians – both presumably suicides – which made me wonder how frequently these incidents occur.

Online reports indicate that 10 impact-related Caltrain deaths have been tallied for 2006, making it Caltrain’s deadliest year to date. The report cites that the transit agency has “stepped up safety and suicide prevention efforts” as a result.

I suppose there is always risk where transit forms intersect, and as might have happened in this case, impatience and over-confidence make people bold. I’m sure that the speed of the trains are harder to gauge than one might think, and one miscalculation is one too many. I think it is horrible that someone was injured, or even killed, in such an accident, but sometimes I feel that people unnecessarily increase their own risk, and for what? To make it to their destination 10 minutes faster?

5 Comments so far

  1. Mark (unregistered) on September 6th, 2006 @ 10:56 pm
  2. Scott (unregistered) on September 6th, 2006 @ 11:28 pm

    I was on that train. It was a little surprising to me that there was no perceptible impact, audible or otherwise, on the train. We just came to a slow stop.

    Not to be crass (I spent to whole subsequent ride home lamenting about the fate of that cyclist, and hoping for better news,) but I wish the delay were only 10-20 minutes as reported on sfgate.com. A commute involving BART, Caltrain, and corporate shuttle that normally takes 1.5 hours took fully three hours tonight.

    The reactions from detraining passengers on news we had hit a cyclist ranged from “Oh that’s awful,” to “Dear God I hope they’re alright,” to “That was dumb.” No one at that point knew that a life had been lost, but as we walked away from the train it was clear from the police activity that something very serious had occurred.


  3. Nancy (unregistered) on September 6th, 2006 @ 11:37 pm

    I’m sorry to hear that, Mark. Thanks for the link.


  4. Pete (unregistered) on September 7th, 2006 @ 10:39 am

    Further details: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/09/07/BAGF5L0TS81.DTL

    I had to go back and see if this post was about that guy, as I only remembered the title: http://sf.metblogs.com/archives/2006/09/trains_and_ice_cream.phtml


  5. Nancy (unregistered) on September 7th, 2006 @ 10:51 am

    Thanks for the article link, Pete. Sad news about the cyclist. At 63, he probably wasn’t arrogantly trying to race the train, more likely he was just tired from a day’s work and not being aware. I feel for the guy, and his family.



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