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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Did Pearl "quiet zone" contribute to Amtrak bike wreck?

Not much more news on Sunday afternoon's unpleasant interaction between a Seattle-bound Amtrak train and a guy on a bicycle in the area of the Pearl District. As a reader points out, that's where the trains have been ordered to minimize their whistle-tooting because the precious residents of the nearby Pearly condos don't like the racket. Did that have anything to do with the accident? What happened?

Channel 6 has a photo of the wrecked bike, here. It's not a hipster fixie, but more like a geezer recumbent. And here's the cyclist -- not your Spandex type, by any means. It still would be nice to know what went wrong in the multi-modal mecca.

Comments (12)

Ironic that he had the skull and cross bones flag on his bike.

Since Amtrak uses long-existing RR right-of-ways with controlled crossings just like any freight train, has anyone determined yet whether the crossing-gate was up or down?

The answer to that simple question will indicate fault, plain and simple.

I don't think this incident quite qualifies as a uniquely Portland multi-modal fiasco.

That looks like the remains of a trailer behind the bike. The bike itself looks OK ... maybe the trailer got hit?

I can't think of how, if you are riding a bike and get hit by a train, it's anything but your fault, plain and simple.

Amazing this guy gets a do-over.

Doubtful because the bells on the crossing guards are quite audible. Unless hearing impaired, you can't NOT know a train is coming, even in the quiet zone and the absence of horns.

I have seen quite a few bikers lift up their bikes and carry them through the train cars when a stopped train blocks their path. Obviously very risky. I even saw a woman walk UNDER a stopped train once with her dog to get past a train that blocked her path. Scared the hell out of me.

In the picture of the cyclist it is quite clear that the crossing guard is down.

I am used to the MAX signals that start with the light flashing and the bells ringing, then the crossing gate comes down and several seconds pass before the MAX train comes.

At this particular crossing the lights and crossing gate start together. At times the train passes only moments later, not at all like the MAX trains. There is much less time between when the signal starts and the train passes.

In that part of town, the trains are not moving that quickly at all. When we've been out riding or walking in the area, it can take quite some time for the trains to pass, and yes, they sometimes stop.

In any case, I'm pretty sure the train engineer did not suddenly accelerate to hit the biker.

Someone was inattentive.

I'm glad he'll live. Not sure there's a bigger issue to be discussed here.

That's not a bike.

That's not a bike.



No: True. Relevant. Material. Evident.

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