In just a week-long period, four people have been struck by Minneapolis light rail trains, and two people have died. According to CBS Minnesota, Metro Transit is currently reviewing its light rail safety measures and equipment to better protect the public. The recent increase in accidents brings real attention to the danger of crossing, walking, biking, or driving near tracks while light rail trains are in operation.
While Metro Transit is taking measures to improve public safety, drivers, pedestrians, and bikers also need to consider their actions around the trains. Reports suggest that people cross the tracks even when warning lights, signals, and crossing gates suggest that it would be unsafe to do so. People cross the tracks to avoid being late or because they are in a hurry, but the consequences of ignoring safety signals can be immense.
What can drivers, bikers, and pedestrians do to stay safe? Here are some safety tips to prevent accidents.
- Cross tracks at designated and marked crossings. According to Metro Transit, it is against the law to walk on the tracks or to attempt to cross tracks except at marked and designated crossings.
- Don’t race a train to the crossing. Most trains require the length of two football fields to come to a complete stop. Don’t assume that you’ll be able to beat the train. Metro Transit notes that light rail trains move faster than freight trains, meaning that the trains will often clear an intersection faster than drivers expect they will. Be patient.
- Listen for trains. Light rail trains look the same from both sides and it can be difficult sometimes, especially in poor weather or low-light conditions, to predict whether a train is coming or going. Red taillights often indicate that a train is moving away. Always obey signals and never cross the track if you hear a train coming.
- Look both ways. Even if the gate and signals give you an all-clear, always look both ways before crossing the tracks.
- If biking, don’t pass on the right of a bus. Bikers should always pass a bus on the left because buses often make stops. Remember that if you can’t see the driver in his or her mirrors, he or she probably can’t see you.
Safety is everyone’s job. Metro Transit will be looking over its procedures and equipment, but drivers, bikers, and pedestrians should also consider their own role in preventing accidents.
The accidents that led to two deaths and two people being injured are still under investigation. When an accident takes place, it is important that all measures are taken to ensure that everyone gets the justice they deserve.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, train accident, or bike accident, it is important to understand that the law provides certain key protections to victims. If you’ve been injured due to another driver, train operator, or as a result of public service negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The Law Office of Martin T. Montilino is a personal injury lawyer in Minneapolis, Minnesota who protects the rights of those who have been injured in car accidents, train accidents, and bike accidents.