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Old 09-27-07, 02:40 PM   #1
njm
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Houston light rail accident highlight reel

Saw this link on CL BikeFo. Take note of how many drivers make turns from straight-only lanes.

http://www.videosift.com/video/The-g...l-metro-system

Caption: "If these drivers can't see a train, what hope do bicyclists have?"
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Old 09-27-07, 03:11 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by njm View Post
Saw this link on CL BikeFo. Take note of how many drivers make turns from straight-only lanes.

http://www.videosift.com/video/The-g...l-metro-system

Caption: "If these drivers can't see a train, what hope do bicyclists have?"
Classic in so many ways. Just classic. Gee, if you can't see a train...
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Old 09-27-07, 03:15 PM   #3
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bahahaha i laughed my bum off. thanks mate
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Old 09-27-07, 03:34 PM   #4
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Yeah, and people want to convince me that there are only a handful of people that pose a risk to a cyclist on the road.

Also: Isn't it all so comforting knowing how many people don't check their mirror during a turn?
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Old 09-27-07, 04:21 PM   #5
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Are all those left turns illegal? I saw a few were marked as straight only, but not all.

I wonder as if not it is an example of the problem of putting a thru lane across the path of a possible turning lane.

Al
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Old 09-27-07, 04:27 PM   #6
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I'm curious as to how fast the "trains" are moving?

Seems to me this is part of the problem with having LRVs operating on a streetgrade trainway.
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Old 09-27-07, 04:42 PM   #7
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I'm curious as to how fast the "trains" are moving?

Seems to me this is part of the problem with having LRVs operating on a streetgrade trainway.
Seems to me this is part of the problem with granting drivers' licenses to just about anyone.
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Old 09-27-07, 06:26 PM   #8
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Phoenix has an at grade light rail and I think the results will be the same. people are lousy drivers here. the approach speed isn't that high, it's just that the train can't react when it seems some bumble brained ninny about to turn, they just have to have faith in the idiots around them. I hope these idiots learned there lesson and that they have to pay to have the train repaired, missed time by occupants that were late for work etc...
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Old 09-27-07, 07:11 PM   #9
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I remember coming across a site detailing how bad Houston drivers were. Looks like this video confirms it.
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Old 09-27-07, 07:25 PM   #10
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I'm all for Houston's lightrail but they made several huge mistakes.

1. The trains run at grade level and speeds are over 25 mph.

2. They allow cars to "ride" right along with the lightrail at speed. The lightrail should ONLY be given the green light to move while the motorist receives the red light until the train is 1 city block away. This is the procedure for the Hudson Bergen lightrail which has a fraction of the accidents that Houston has due to stopping all motor traffic once the lightrail enters the block.
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Old 09-27-07, 07:50 PM   #11
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I'm all for Houston's lightrail but they made several huge mistakes.

1. The trains run at grade level and speeds are over 25 mph.

2. They allow cars to "ride" right along with the lightrail at speed. The lightrail should ONLY be given the green light to move while the motorist receives the red light until the train is 1 city block away. This is the procedure for the Hudson Bergen lightrail which has a fraction of the accidents that Houston has due to stopping all motor traffic once the lightrail enters the block.
Yeah, this is the procedure for the Green Line in Boston -- traffic doesn't get the chance to collide with the train unless a driver runs a red light.

Someone mentioned that this is what happens when straight-ahead-going traffic crosses turn lanes, and that was exactly the generalization I was thinking of: the same drivers could do the same thing to cyclists on their right (in a bike lane or otherwise) when the drivers are making a right turn.

I think it makes the case for bike lanes that are located INSIDE right turn lanes, as we have here in Cambridge, if bike lanes are being used.
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Old 09-27-07, 08:11 PM   #12
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Yep, Houston drivers are pretty bad. I teach advanced driving skills in Houston, on occasion.

Note that hitting cars has very little effect on the train. Funny thing is that the accident rate was quite high when the trains first started running, but fell off rapidly. It seems drivers actually learned to look for the train!

Last edited by Da Tinker; 09-27-07 at 08:17 PM.
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Old 09-27-07, 11:12 PM   #13
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Yep, Houston drivers are pretty bad. I teach advanced driving skills in Houston, on occasion.

Note that hitting cars has very little effect on the train. Funny thing is that the accident rate was quite high when the trains first started running, but fell off rapidly. It seems drivers actually learned to look for the train!
Huh..... That's weird. They CAN be taught! *boggles*
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Old 09-27-07, 11:49 PM   #14
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Very sobering. But as a bicycle rider, I must say, that I just expect it nowadays. Just yesterday, a woman was coming straight at me in a parking lot, needing to make a left turn in front of me. I got right up on her, and she jerks her wheel left, and then stops. I swear she did it just to scare the dickens out of me. It worked.
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Old 09-28-07, 03:45 AM   #15
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I want a light rail train!

Just for one day.
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Old 09-28-07, 04:33 AM   #16
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When I attended BU (right on the Green line) there was a Car-T accident almost weekly, the T always won. In fact there is a particular mark that the coupling makes on the side panels and you would occasionally see cars driving around campus with one or two of these battle scars. Of course we also had a student get hit by the T on what seemed like a monthly bases. I think the conclusion to draw is that people are idiots act accordingly on your bike.

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Yeah, this is the procedure for the Green Line in Boston -- traffic doesn't get the chance to collide with the train unless a driver runs a red light.

Someone mentioned that this is what happens when straight-ahead-going traffic crosses turn lanes, and that was exactly the generalization I was thinking of: the same drivers could do the same thing to cyclists on their right (in a bike lane or otherwise) when the drivers are making a right turn.

I think it makes the case for bike lanes that are located INSIDE right turn lanes, as we have here in Cambridge, if bike lanes are being used.
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Old 09-28-07, 06:43 AM   #17
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In the first part of the vid, isn't the train running stop lights?
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Old 09-28-07, 06:47 AM   #18
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Does the train stop at intersection? And doesn't it seem that the train goes much faster than the rest of the traffic? I've never een one of these trains, but from the vid, they seem to ignore traffic signals, and drive to fast.

Looks alot like what happens when you have bike lanes: slower traffic stuck over to the right, faster poor manuevering traffic to the left.
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Old 09-28-07, 06:49 AM   #19
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If you are moved over to the left, waiting to turn, but stopped, does the train stop and wiat behind you to turn, or just hit you? Can the train stop?
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Old 09-28-07, 12:21 PM   #20
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I don't think grade level running is a problem, so long as the trains move at the same speed as cars. Denver's light rail only has a few short sections of street running, and I'm pretty sure the train goes the same speed as all other traffic, can't say I've heard of its street sections being especially accident prone.
Aside from that, all the old streetcars used to run down street centers, and I think they actually had less accidents than the buses that replaced them.
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Old 09-28-07, 12:29 PM   #21
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I love the way the train manhandles those cars. I'm sorry, but I do
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Old 09-28-07, 01:49 PM   #22
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Does the train stop at intersection? And doesn't it seem that the train goes much faster than the rest of the traffic? I've never een one of these trains, but from the vid, they seem to ignore traffic signals, and drive to fast.

Looks alot like what happens when you have bike lanes: slower traffic stuck over to the right, faster poor manuevering traffic to the left.
They don't 'ignore' traffic signals. The signals are timed so that the trains don't have to stop.

The only thing I see that looks unusual is that there is one point where it looks like there is a left turn lane on the tracks.... I've never seen that.

Here in Denver they run the light rail the opposite direction of the traffic. I can't think of a single situation where there might be a collision that was the light rail operator's fault, and not the motorist's.

edit: MOST of those drivers look like they're making blatantly illegal turns. The others just didn't check before they merged across the lane (Assuming that they're allowed to make the left turns at all) That left turn lane really bugs me, though.
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Old 09-28-07, 05:53 PM   #23
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Here in Dallas, the only place where the DART Light Rail is a part of traffic is downtown. Things are kept really slow there and there are no turns allowed across the tracks where the rail is part of traffic. There are plenty of other roads to use to get onto the road you want. Outside of downtown, it is sometimes a subway, sometimes elevated and sometimes a regular train off street train (with rail crossings and the crossing block thingy's that block cross traffic). It has made for few accidents.
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Old 09-29-07, 12:26 PM   #24
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Generally, it is illegal to turn left across the path of the train in Houston. In places where it is legal to turn left, there are signals indicating when to do so, which is NOT when the train is present.
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Old 09-29-07, 12:33 PM   #25
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Those who were changing lanes into the train, where the trains and cars share the lane, were "changing lanes not in safety" by Texas traffic law, just as if they cut off any other type of vehicle.
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