Update: Santa Fe Springs rider killed in collision with Metrolink train

Word is just coming in that a bike rider was killed in a collision with a Metrolink train this morning.

According to the Press-Telegram, the victim, described only as male, was hit by the train at 7:15 this morning on tracks near Lakeland Road and Bloomfield Ave in Santa Fe Springs.

The LA Times puts the time as around 7:10 am, and identifies the train as Metrolink 682 bound for Orange County from Downtown Los Angeles. The paper reports the victim rode around the crossing gate; he died at the scene.

Train collisions are the easiest type of collision to avoid, yet there have been at least 14 other riders killed by trains in Southern California since January, 2011, including eight last year.

There is simply no excuse, ever, for riding around a railroad crossing barrier. However, the high number of fatal train collisions — cyclists, drivers and pedestrians — would suggest that more needs to be done to keep people off the tracks when trains are approaching.

This is the second bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in Los Angeles County.

My sympathy and prayers for the victim and all his loved ones.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said the train was headed to Downtown Los Angeles, based on information in the Times’ story.

Update: According to the Whittier Daily News, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding the wrong way on eastbound Lakeland. That would have placed him on the opposite side of the road from the crossing barrier. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:24 am.

Update 2: According to LAist, the LA County Coroner’s office has identified the victim as 23-year old Dale Hummels of Whittier. Oddly, the coroner’s felt a need to clarify that Hummels’ death was not a suicide. 

11 comments

  1. I agree about the excessive number of fatal wrecks caused by people using all modes going around crossing arms. It’s almost as if somehow somebody has created the meme that laws and rules are for other people to obey when this happens over and over. Or perhaps this is nothing new but we are becoming more aware of it because of the 24 hour news channels needing more and more “content” to fill every hour with New News, instead of just repeating ad nauseam once an hour until they get something substantial to report.

  2. Trip says:

    I am very sorry for the family.

    When you say “more needs to be done to keep people off the tracks when trains are approaching” are you serious? We don’t have bullet trains or anything – you can hear a train coming, there is a ringing bell at the train crossing, there is a white/red crossing gate that comes down, and there are flashing lights.

    All we have at street intersections is a stop sign or a light. Should we be doing more to keep cyclists from riding through red lights into a busy intersections?

    • Trip says:

      Please excuse the typo in the last sentence. And I appreciate all the work you do with this website. I just think we would be better off getting more bike lanes or putting effort into something else.

    • bikinginla says:

      No, we should be doing more to keep people off the tracks — cyclists, drivers and pedestrians, since all are dying on local railroad tracks. In fact, two pedestrians were killed in just the last few days.

      I don’t know what the solution is, whether it’s better gates, better education or better designed crossings. But it’s a clear indication that something is seriously wrong when so many road users make the same fatal mistake.

      • Trip says:

        As you said, it’s the easiest collision to avoid. People just need to accept personal responsibility and maintain their own situational awareness. If someone else is responsible for warning everybody about every risk then all our favorite biking/hiking trails and places like the Grand Canyon are going to be lined with railings and warning signs.

  3. […] CA we get another cyclist riding around the crossing gates and getting killed. Breaking news: Santa Fe Springs rider killed in collision with Metrolink train Why? It is so easy to avoid this, so why does it keep […]

  4. Joe B says:

    Everybody knows the story about the little boy who cried wolf. The moral of the story is that if you often lie about imminent danger, then when danger is actually present, nobody will believe you.

    Recently, I was at a gold line crossing. One train went by. The crossing gates stayed down for over THREE MINUTES until the second train showed up and went by.

    Traffic safety engineers probably think that leaving the gates down in between trains increases safety. Actually, all it does is teach people to ignore the crossing gates.

    • FweeWoader says:

      Something tells me the person on the bike wasn’t all that stupid, and perhaps Joe B is onto something. You mean to tell me you’ve never set for more 5 minutes at lowered gates with no train in sight?

  5. Steve Herbert says:

    I’ll just note my wife used to work for a business adjacent the tracks along this line, maybe 1/2 a mile from the scene and it’s worth noting the the Metrolink trains come through there VERY fast and relatively quiet. Unlike a freight train, its not as easy as you’d think to hear the train coming before it has arrived at the intersection.

    That said, riding the wrong way on the wrong side of the street and going around crossing arms is pretty dumb. There was a campaign that made the FB rounds last year from overseas about train crossings in a cute, catchy animated song called “Dumb Ways to Die”.

    It helped to lower deaths there and definitely sticks in your mind once heard.

  6. Thomas says:

    I wound up stuck on one of the trains that got backed up by this collision, and was late to one of those things you really shouldn’t be late to.

    My perception is that way too many cyclists — more than pedestrians or motorists — have an attitude that the most basic traffic laws don’t apply. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a spandex-wearing cyclist, for instance, stop at a stop sign.

    Sorry the man died. Would rather, for his sake and mine, that he’d used his head.

    • bikinginla says:

      Oddly, I rode three hours this afternoon — in spandex — and stopped for every stop sign along the way.

      Generalizations are always wrong, and usually offensive.

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