Tag Archive for train collision

Downey bike rider killed in collision with Metro Blue Line

Word broke late Saturday night that a cyclist may have killed in a collision with a Metro Blue Line train in the Florence neighborhood of Los Angeles.

KABC-7 tweeted that a bike rider had been killed crossing the tracks at East Gage and Holmes Avenues, citing a report from the CHP. However, while the Highway Patrol dispatch confirmed a fatality, it did not identify the victim as a bike rider.

Any question was resolved Sunday evening when KCBS-2 confirmed that a 51-year old Downey resident was killed when he rode his bike in front of the train, which was traveling at 50 mph at the time. At that speed, such a collision is unlikely to be survivable; he was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:01 pm.

The victim was not publicly identified pending notification of next of kin.

No word on why he did not see or hear the train approaching, or whether the crossing arms were working properly.

This is the 47th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 20th in Los Angeles County. It’s also the sixth cycling death in the City of Los Angeles since the first of the year.

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

 

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. 

Update: Bike rider killed in Pacoima train collision; eighth SoCal train victim this year

Eighty-one. And eight.

That’s how many bike riders have lost their lives in what has turned out to be a horrible year for SoCal cyclists. And how many of those riders have died as a result of train collisions.

According to the LA Times, a male bike rider was hit and hilled by a Metrolink train in Pacoima this afternoon. The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding on Van Nuys Blvd when he attempted to cross the railroad tracks just north of San Fernando Road around 3:50 pm.

The paper reports he apparently tried to beat the train, despite the fact that the warning gates had already been lowered. He was struck by the 218 train on its way to Union Station in Downtown LA, and pronounced dead at the scene.

With this death, nearly 10% of the fatalities involving Southern California bike riders have been the result of train collisions — the easiest type of collision to avoid. All you have to do is stay off the tracks when there’s a train coming.

Unlike motor vehicles. trains are restricted to a specific pathway, and can’t vary their route in any way. And they have warning systems to let you know when they’re coming; all you have to do is squeeze on the brakes.

At least three of those eight deaths resulted from riders attempting to beat the train or ride around the warning gates. Which makes me wonder if they were truly attempting to beat the gates, or if at least some might have been fixie riders forced to ride through because they lacked the skill to stop in time.

Unfortunately, we may never know, since none of the reports identify the type of bike the victim was riding.

But it’s a question worth asking as we struggle to understand why so many riders have died in a type of collision that’s so easy to avoid.

This is the 81st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 33rd in LA County. This is also the 14th rider to lose his life in the City of Los Angeles since the first of the year, three time the average for the city.

Update: According to KCBS-2, the victim, identified only as a 30-year old Hispanic man, was riding west on Van Nuys at the time of the collision. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his family.

Update 2: Over two weeks later, there’s still no ID on the victim. He is described as a Hispanic man over 21 years old, about 5’2” and 144 pounds, with brown eyes and a black Mohawk, and a red stud earring in one ear. Anyone with information is urged to call coroner’s investigator Daniel Machian at 323-343-0754 or the coroner investigations division at 323-343-0714.

Update: 22-year old cyclist killed by Metrolink Train in Palmdale; 7th bike/train death this year

A bad year just keeps getting worse.

KNBC-4 is reporting that a teenage bike rider was killed in a collision with a Metrolink train in Palmdale Saturday night.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was crossing the tracks at Palmdale Blvd and Sierra Highway, when he reportedly tried to beat the train across the tracks.

And failed.

No other details are available at this time, including the time of the collision or which directions the rider and train were headed.

This has been a horrible year for bike/train collisions in Southern California. Seven bike riders have been killed by trains so far this year; this is the second this month alone. That compares with just two in all of last year, and four in 2011.

Yet this is the easiest type of collision to avoid. Just stop when the crossing gates come down, and wait until they go back up — even it if looks like it’s safe to cross.

And don’t even think you can beat the train.

Because chances are, you won’t.

This is the 70th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 30th in Los Angeles County; that is eight more than were killed in the county in all of last year.

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

Thanks to Joni for the heads-up.

Update: The LA Daily News reports that the victim, who still has not been publicly identified, was a 22-year old man.

According to the paper, a witness at the scene said the victim was riding with a group of friends around 7:10 pm when he tried to outrun the northbound train. The paper doesn’t say if he was the only one who tried to beat the train, or if any others might have made it across before he was hit.

Not surprisingly, none of the passengers on the Number 269 train were injured.

Update 2: The Antelope Valley Times identifies the victim as 22-year old Manuel Correa, no hometown given. 

Meanwhile, a comment from Bryan Laine, below, indicates that he not only knew the victim, he was on the train at the time of the collision. According to him, the leaders of the group kept riding after the crossing arms began to fall, which led to Correa’s death as he evidently followed them across the tracks.

Update: 15-year old bike rider killed in Metrolink collision; first SoCal bike death in nearly a month

We almost made it.

It’s been exactly 26 days since the last bicycling fatality anywhere in Southern California. Lately I’ve kept my fingers crossed the we could make it to a full four weeks; a much needed respite in what has been a very bad year for SoCal cyclists.

Sadly, we didn’t make it.

And neither did a young Riverside man.

News is just breaking that a teenage boy was killed in a collision with a Metrolink train in Riverside earlier this evening; KCBS-2 originally identified him as 15 years old, but later removed that from their story.

According to Murrieta Patch, the young man, who has not been publicly identified, was crossing the tracks at Madison Street near Indiana Avenue at 5:58 pm Thursday when he was struck by a train headed from Orange County to San Bernardino.

A satellite photo shows standard drop-bar crossing arms on both sides of the tracks.

No word on which direction he was riding, or how he ended up on the tracks as the train was coming through. However, a division chief for the Riverside Fire Department speculated that there may have been a second train coming in the opposite direction after the first train had passed.

There are few things easier to avoid than a wreck with a train. Unlike cars, they can’t deviate from a set track; all you have to do is stop when the barricades come down, and wait until they go back up before crossing the tracks — regardless of how safe it may seem at the time.

This is the 68th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 10th in Riverside County. That compares with 62 and 11, respectively, this time last year.

He is also the sixth Southern California bicyclist to be killed by a train this year, compared to just two in all of last year, and four in 2011.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and all his family and friends; this news will be devastating for whatever school he may have attended.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

Update: A report from KNBC-4 confirms that the victim was 15-years old, and that witnesses said he waited for one train to pass, then was hit by second train coming from the opposite direction when he attempted to cross the tracks. 

Update 2: According to the Press-Enterprise, the victim was riding south on the sidewalk on the west side of Madison Street when he stopped for the first train. 

A witness who recognized the boy waved at him, and watched the wreck unfold. 

“We saw him riding his bike, and we just waved at him,” said Soto, who was heading to a friend’s home in the Casa Blanca neighborhood. “He stopped right there at the (crossing) light” when an eastbound freight train passed by.

“It passed by and 30 seconds later we’re still just waiting there for it (the crossing gate) to lift up. I see a train coming and oh, it’s another train,” Soto said. “I could see the kid go straight and I guess he didn’t look to his left and he got hit. It was a loud pop. At first … I didn’t believe it.”

The witness, who said he was scarred for life by what he’d seen, went on to say that the victim may have been fooled when the warning gate started to lift before coming back down again. 

“I thought something was wrong with it,” he said, “so I guess he (the boy on the bicycle) saw that with the corner of his eye and went straight. I guess now he’s in heaven.”

Update 3: The San Bernardino Sun identifies the victim as Serafin Gonzalez of Riverside.

Update 4: According to the Press-Enterprise, Gonzalez was just out for a quick ride when he was killed; he was dragged over 170 feet by the force of the impact.

He was described by his teachers as an extremely good young man without a mean bone in his body. 

And in an indication of a serious problem, the paper reports that Gonzalez was the fourth person in Riverside to be struck and killed by a second train after waiting for the first train to pass in the last four years.

Update 5: A vigil was held in Gonzalez’s memory Friday night. In a tragic irony, he lived on Railroad Avenue, paralleling the tracks he died on. 

18-year bike rider killed in Fontana train collision; 2nd San Bernardino County train death in 3 days

This may be too much of a tragic coincidence.

For the second time in just three days, a San Bernardino County teenager has been killed in a collision with a train while riding his bike.

According to the Fontana Herald News, 18-year old Fontana resident Carlos Morales Guzman was riding north on Beech Avenue above Ceres Ave when he attempted to cross the train tracks and was hit by a westbound train. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 5:20 pm.

A street view shows a traditional railroad crossing arm; if it was working, Guzman may have tried to ride around it.

Remarkably, the collision occurred at exactly the same time of day, and on what appears to be the same tracks, as the collision that killed 19-year old Brendan Allen Adams just three days earlier, less than 20 miles away.

This is the 34th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth in San Bernardino County. Guzman is the fourth person killed in a collision with a train since the first of the year, and as noted, the second in just three days.

It’s also the third cycling death in the last three days, following the death of a 25-year old Los Angeles man in Pasadena on Saturday, just 15 minutes after the wreck that took Guzman’s life.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Carlos Guzman and all his family and loved ones.

Update: Anaheim bike rider killed by train; OC Register holds details for ransom

This is exactly what I’ve been worried about.

Ever since the Orange County Register announced their draconian paywall policy requiring even the most casual online visitors to subscribe to the paper to read a single article, I’ve feared what would happen the next time a bike rider died behind the Orange Curtain.

And tonight, those fears have been realized.

According to the brief introduction to the story the paper posted online, a man was struck and killed by a Metrolink train while walking his bicycle along railroad tracks in Anaheim. The collision occurred around 4:30 pm on the tracks south of La Palma Ave and east of Pauline Street.

If there is any more information, it is hidden behind the paper’s login page.

Hopefully, another publication will provide the details the paper is keeping to itself. Because as it stands now, the Orange Curtain has become as opaque as a digital Berlin Wall.

This is the 20th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Orange County. It’s also the second bike rider killed by a train since the first of the year.

My prayers go out to the victim and his loved ones.

Update: A comment from Calwatch below identifies the victim as Andrew Powell of Fullerton, and places the time of death at before 3:30 pm, rather than 4:30.

Another comment from Carlos P offers a second-hand eye-witness report:

my brother was in the number 1 lane going east bound right up front and a white van was next to him in the number 2 lane. when a pedestrian tried to cross the tracks west bound after the arms were down. my brother and the van both saw the train coming and blowing his horn over and over again and the pedestrian never even looked up. my brother honked his horn as well to get the pedestrians attention but to no avail. instead of running and leaving his bike there, the pedestrian was hit by the train. my brother saw him fly through the air and land up against a chain link fence. sad situation.

Update 2: A source reports that Powell was actually the victim of another train collision, and that the victim of Monday’s bike-involved collision has not yet been identified.

There’ve been two Metrolink fatalities in OC in the past week. The first was a pedestrian on Friday afternoon; that was Fullerton resident Andrew Powell, who would’ve turned 21 next week. That collision occurred between the Fullerton & Buena Park stations.

Monday’s fatality occurred about 3 miles down Metrolink’s Orange County Line. Southbound Metrolink train 686 had just picked up speed after departing Fullerton station. This section of tracks, between an industrial area & a flood control basin, has a very slight curve, so it’s a crossing the engineer would have sounded on approach. On the south side of La Palma Avenue, it struck a guy pushing his bike on the tracks.

According to Anaheim PD, the victim hasn’t been identified, so his next of kin haven’t been notified yet. There’ll be an autopsy, but the coroner is “kind of backed up right now,” says a clerk, so it may be next week before it’s completed.

Bike rider killed in Blue Line collision; Metro once again fails to inform the public

According to the L.A. Times Sunday edition, a bike rider was killed in a collision with the Blue Line Metro Train yesterday.

According to the paper, the collision occurred about 12:50 pm at the intersection of Grandee Avenue and Century Blvd, apparently in an unincorporated area of South L.A.

The identity of the male rider was unknown at the time of printing; the photo shows a mountain bike with a tacoed and twisted front wheel.

Unfortunately, no other information is available at this time.

The photo is not available on the Times’ website, and no information is available online from the Times, L.A. Metro, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department — which evidently investigated the death — or any other news source. If I hadn’t happened to read the California section of the Times’ print edition just now, I wouldn’t have known about it.

Maybe it’s just me, but I consider it shameful that Metro doesn’t post information about fatal collisions involving their buses or trains as soon as possible after they happen. Or at all, in too many cases.

They have an obligation to keep the public informed about the safety of their operations, and far to often, fail to fulfill it. Which isn’t to say the Sheriff’s Department couldn’t do a much better job, as well.

This is just the third bicycling fatality in Southern California so far this year, and the second in the County of Los Angeles.

My sympathy and prayers for the victim and his family.

Update: Streetsblog has identified the victim as 26-year old Sylvester Henderson.

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