Recent Charlotte Rail Accidents Raise Concern for Pedestrian Safety on Train Platforms

Charlotte pedestrian accidents are on the rise despite city efforts to reduce the risk of injury while crossing the street, according to a recent article in Fox Charlotte.

There have been almost 300 pedestrians involved in accidents this year, but our rail accident lawyers in Greensboro, Charlotte and elsewhere know that crossing the street isn’t the only danger a pedestrian faces. Some pedestrians can be injured while waiting for a train or crossing over a track platform to catch a train approaching from the other side.
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The city of Charlotte has taken several steps to bolster pedestrian safety throughout the city. More than 500 pedestrian countdown signals have been installed, sidewalks are being widened, ramps have been installed for wheelchair access, and busy streets have been geared for bicycle and pedestrian use by minimizing the amount of normal car traffic traveled on them.

What hasn’t been done to enhance pedestrian safety however is to provide protection or reduce the chance of injuries sustained while waiting for a train. The Charlotte Observer reports that a recent close call at the Scaleybark Road train station has many concerned about pedestrians waiting on a train platform or attempting to cross over to the other side. A Charlotte man was lucky to survive after being struck by the 92,000 pound rail. It is the second accident in three months at this particular train station. Many pedestrians are at risk at this station because there are three lanes to contend with: two for vehicles and one for trains, which splits the roadway for about half-a-mile stretch.

Since 2007, the Charlotte Area Transit System reports nearly a dozen rail accidents at the Scaleybark Station. The two most recent accidents were non-fatal but not everyone in recent history has been that lucky. A train traveling at 55-mph requires approximately 600 yards to stop in order to avoid a collision. Pedestrians struck by a moving train have very little chance of survival in most cases.

There are some things that pedestrians should try to keep in mind while waiting on a train platform or trying to cross to the other side. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority offers these transit safety tips:

-Avoid using IPods, portable radios, cell phones or other devices that can make you become distracted. Listening to music or talking on a cell phone diverts your attention from an approaching train.

-Be aware of your surroundings. This includes people, trains or anything else that is going on around you.

-Always stand behind the yellow line until the train approaches, stops and indicates it is safe to step on.

-Familiarize yourself with the train schedule so you can allow plenty of time to purchase a ticket or cross safely to the other side. If you are running late, wait for the next scheduled stop rather than risk being struck by a rail scheduled to leave the station.

-Expect delays or early arrivals for scheduled train stops.

-Avoid wearing long coats or loose clothing that can become lodged in a train’s doors or tracks.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a rail accident in Charlotte, Greensboro or the surrounding areas, contact the train accident attorneys at Lee Law Offices, P.A. We offer free consultations to injured victims and their families. Call 1-800-887-1965 to speak with an attorney.

Additional Resources:
Pedestrian Crashes on the Rise in the Queen City, by Kate Bruce, Fox Charlotte.

Safety issues raised at Scaleybark Lynx stop, by Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Charlotte Observer.

More Blog Entries:
Railroad Crossings in Charlotte, Elsewhere a Danger for Motorists and Pedestrians Involved in Train Accidents, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, August 6, 2011.

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