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Bicyclist killed by train

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Bicyclist killed by train

Old 06-01-07, 10:12 PM
  #1  
oilman_15106
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Bicyclist killed by train

You hate to see these stories but this is a strange one. On some of our rides we bomb down a big hill with a set of RR tracks at the bottom. Will be more careful next time.

http://www.post-gazette.com/neigh_so...rain0526p4.asp
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Old 06-02-07, 12:10 AM
  #2  
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i hate to say it, but if it happened like they think it happened, the rider is the only one to blame. trains aren't that hard to miss, especially on a bike.
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Old 06-02-07, 03:00 AM
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John Wilke
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Very sad.

Stick with the basics - look both ways.
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Old 06-02-07, 05:05 AM
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how can they have a railroad crossing with just flashing lights, and no gates? i mean really...

when i was a teenager growing up, a friend of mine from the neighborhood was walking to the dentist, and the gates were down and the lights were flashing. he saw that the train passed, and started to cross the tracks without looking the other way, not knowing that another train was coming the other way and hit him. basically, he got killed because he was wearing a walkman, and didn't look the other way because he couldn't hear the whistle from the second train...

in any case, it's a sad story...
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Old 06-02-07, 06:04 AM
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Not at all unusual not to have gates. Here alot of the train crossings in the country not only don't have gates, but don't have lights, just a sign.
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Old 06-02-07, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by svidrod
i hate to say it, but if it happened like they think it happened, the rider is the only one to blame. trains aren't that hard to miss, especially on a bike.
Mr. Darwin would agree.
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Old 06-02-07, 06:17 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by FIVE ONE SIX
how can they have a railroad crossing with just flashing lights, and no gates? i mean really...
not having gates does put the responsibility more on the drivers/riders/pedestrians. But that just means that people need to be more careful. It's cheaper for the municipality. And of course there's plenty of RR crossings that have no special indicator of a train's coming, just a "RR Crossing" sign that tells you you need look and make sure nothing is coming.

that said, this story is a good reminder for me to be wary when crossing double tracks.
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Old 06-02-07, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by 2Tired2Shift
Mr. Darwin would agree.
I assume you mean Mr. Darwin of the Darwin Awards?
If you're talking about social darwinism (i.e., survival of the fittest), it's an ideology that didn't come from Darwin, but was popular in the late-1800s and claimed to be analogous to evolutionary theory or use it as support.
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Old 06-02-07, 07:07 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by maddyfish
Not at all unusual not to have gates. Here alot of the train crossings in the country not only don't have gates, but don't have lights, just a sign.
+1

I had 2 on my ride this morning

-D
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Old 06-02-07, 08:19 AM
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That's terrible. I cross RR tracks everyday, and they have flashing lights, signs AND gates... I still slow waaaay down and check both ways though.
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Old 06-02-07, 09:04 AM
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Every time I read one of these stories I hope I am not the next cyclist being written about who was killed on his bike.

The more I ride and the older I get, the more I am respecting lights, intersections, etc...
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Old 06-02-07, 11:50 AM
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Sounds like she did notice the train and she waited for it to pass before crossing the tracks. However, there were 2 sets of train tracks and a second train was approaching on the second track. She couldn't see the second train because it was hidden behind the first train and she couldn't hear it because the first train was closer and louder. Yes, she should have waited for the first train to pass far enough for her to carefully check the second track, but people that are not familiar with trains may not think of that. There were no crossing gates to tell her that the tracks were not yet clear. My condolences to her friends and family.
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Old 06-02-07, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by maddyfish
Not at all unusual not to have gates. Here alot of the train crossings in the country not only don't have gates, but don't have lights, just a sign.
A substantial portion of the RR tracks I cross have no lights or gates -- just a stop sign. Even though visibility is quite good, I always slow down. RR tracks are nothing to screw with. Trains often move much faster than they look like they're moving.
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Old 06-02-07, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by timcupery
I assume you mean Mr. Darwin of the Darwin Awards?
If you're talking about social darwinism (i.e., survival of the fittest), it's an ideology that didn't come from Darwin, but was popular in the late-1800s and claimed to be analogous to evolutionary theory or use it as support.
Actually I understood 2Tired2Shift to mean actual Natural Selection as posited by Darwin rather than the ironic Darwin awards (a whimsical take on the evolutionary meaning of fitness) or the debunked idea of "Social Darwinism." It is clear by your short post that you fail to understand the concepts that Darwin posited originally. Natural Selection theorizes that a organism must survive with the pressures of their actual environment long enough to reproduce and ensure the survival of their progeny's survival to reproduction. In this case, the cyclist in question obviously lived in an environment with trains and failed to survive this particular encounter with one.

Being only 24 there is a substantial chance that she reproduced thereby fulfilling the first part of being "fit," however, at 24 her possible child would still be fairly young and might not have the survival skills to survive without his/her mother thus failing on the second part of being "fit." The article does not indicate whether the cyclist had children so we can only guess. Regardless, being so young and having killed herself with a train so that she can't have any (more) children in the future she succumbed to the selective pressures of her environment.

While this might seem harsh, Natural Selection is harsh.
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Old 06-02-07, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by FIVE ONE SIX
how can they have a railroad crossing with just flashing lights, and no gates? i mean really...

when i was a teenager growing up, a friend of mine from the neighborhood was walking to the dentist, and the gates were down and the lights were flashing. he saw that the train passed, and started to cross the tracks without looking the other way, not knowing that another train was coming the other way and hit him. basically, he got killed because he was wearing a walkman, and didn't look the other way because he couldn't hear the whistle from the second train...
Aha! A "Don't wear Ipods when you ride" story!

I didn't think it was possible to turn a walkman up loud enough to drown out a train whistle! I can hear the whistle at my house - 5 miles from the tracks.
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Old 06-02-07, 02:05 PM
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^^ When I was on a train from DC to Boston we ran over somebody who was wearing headphones while walking on the tracks, and the train whistled like three times before he/she went under.. though it didn't slow down prior to hitting them and I've always kind of thought that part was a little messed up.
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Old 06-02-07, 03:49 PM
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it takes a train about a half a mile to stop from full speed.
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Old 06-02-07, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ivegotabike
it takes a train about a half a mile to stop from full speed.
It's actually longer than that, I think.
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Old 06-02-07, 06:18 PM
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How long does it take for one to slow down? It doesn't need to come to a full stop to give some one a little more extra time to get out of the way. The same way a train operator sounds a horn, - they could also be applying the brake to slow it down a little, no?
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Old 06-02-07, 06:29 PM
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Slowing the train would not have helped. For the same reason that the woman did not see the train, the train engineer would not have seen the woman. There was another train in the way until the last second.
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Old 06-02-07, 06:32 PM
  #21  
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Freight trains down where I am are regularly have quite a few cars. Looking at one example of a train accident with 48 total cars it was just under 4,000 TONS! That is alot of weight to stop even when they drop the sand on the tracks to try and get better grip then steel on steel will give.
My friend is a retired amtrack engineer and he piloted trains up and down the north east corridor for a long time. He always told me that by the time he saw someone unless he was almost stopped all he could do is blow his horn and pray for both of em. He knew a few engineers that after they ran people over, even suicides, weren't too well off.
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Old 06-02-07, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by rooftest
It's actually longer than that, I think.
i remember reading somewhere that an average freight train at 50 mph takes about 6000 feet to stop, and an amtrak traveling at 79 takes 8000 feet to stop. not 100% that those are still accurate, but they give you a good idea. basically, the train ain't stopping for you.
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Old 06-02-07, 09:54 PM
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Didn't the TGV that broke 300kph take 10-miles to stop???
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