According to many residents, Riverside, California railroad crossings have witnessed one too many fatal accidents involving the local youth population. The latest victim was a 15-year-old who stepped out in the early evening of October 11, 2013 for a quick bike ride. While the rider waited patiently for an eastbound Metrolink commuter train to pass, he failed to perceive a second westbound train that struck and killed him in a moment.
Understandably, the boy’s family and friends were wracked with grief at this young life struck down in its prime. What many in the community cannot fathom is that this was the second teen in four years to be killed by a train at railroad crossing in almost the exact same manner — when two trains were passing at the same time. In both tragedies, the crossing arms were down and the warning lights were flashing.
The repetition of these facts lead some to wonder whether trains passing simultaneously might confuse pedestrians. It has been suggested that pedestrians may only be able to focus on one train at a time, permitting the other train’s exact progress to go unnoticed.
In light of the problems posed by simultaneous trains passing, current safety measures are being questioned. Just a few months before the latest accident, the victim’s former high school hosted a railroad safety assembly to educate teens about the need to carefully check crossings for trains prior to proceeding. Community members wonder whether investing in more underpasses and overpasses to physically separate people from the trains that are killing them could also save lives in the future.
When train accidents repeatedly strike a community, it’s in the best interests of the victims to seek legal assistance from attorneys who can identify patterns of negligence and assign culpability.