Yet another L.A. County cycling fatality, as La Puente man killed by train on Saturday

Evidently, Saturday was a very bad day for local cyclists.

Following the news that Carol Schreder was killed on Mulholland Hwy in the morning, a 57-year old cyclist was killed in La Puente that afternoon.

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, the rider, who has not been publicly identified, was crossing the railroad tracks near Valley Boulevard and 7th Avenue around 4:30 pm when he was hit and killed by a westbound freight train . Reportedly, he was riding slowly across the tracks, and the train, which was traveling at 70 mph, was unable to stop in time.

The paper reports that the crossing arms and signals at the intersection were working properly; no explanation why the rider was on the tracks.

This is the 66th confirmed traffic-related biking fatality in Southern California this year, and the 22nd in Los Angeles County; that matches the total for the county for 2009, which is the last year on record. He was also the second cyclist killed at a train crossing in L.A. County in 2011, and the 5th in Southern California.

3 comments

  1. dnry122 says:

    As a long-time railroad hobbyist, and subscriber to “Trainorders.com”, I see all too many accounts of people moving into the paths of trains, with predictable and usually fatal results. Bear in mind that the crossing in this incident is equipped with visual and audible warning devices, which according to the report were working normally. Also note that locomotives have horns which can be heard for at least two miles, and lights which flash when the horns are sounded. If a person, whether on a bike, in a car, or on foot, for whatever reason, chooses to ignore all these warnings, it’s hard to blame train crew or the railroad (or Metro, in the case of local transit rail lines.)

    • bikinginla says:

      Thanks, dnry. In cases like this, the blame usually lies with the victim. Never ride around railroad warning signals; I did that just once as a kid, and was lucky to escape with my life.

      However, in this case, witnesses note that the victim was riding slowly, so I question whether he might have been caught in the crossing when the warning arms came down, and couldn’t get out in time to avoid the fast moving train.

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t believe this is so, assuming the highway-rail grade crossing warning system was operating properly, as reported.

        Such systems must comply with Federal regulations, which require “in no event . . . less than 20 seconds warning time for the normal operation of through trains before the grade crossing is occupied by rail traffic” (49 CFR § 234.225).

        Even if a train is operating at maximum authorized speed, there is plenty of time for a slow-moving road user to leave the crossing (or stop short of it) before the train arrives–remember, a bicycle traveling at 3 MPH goes 88 feet in 20 seconds.

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