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Sacramento’s Light-Rail Crossings Often Deadly for Pedestrians

Whenever a pedestrian and a motorized vehicle collide, there is no question as to which one will win. Because of this, pedestrians have a vested interest in paying attention to their surroundings and always looking out for cars and trucks. The incentive for this vigilance is obvious: Saving your own life.

Unfortunately, drivers are not the only travelers who are distracted these days. A growing number of pedestrians are being struck and killed in traffic accidents, at least in part, because their eyes are staring at cellphones and their ears are listening to music coming from a pair of headphones. Here in Sacramento and across California generally, pedestrian accidents have become an especially vexing problem along light-rail train routes.

Last year alone, about 154 people in California were struck by trains. Nearly two-thirds of those victims died. The rate of train accidents last year went up nearly 50 percent from just the previous year.

Earlier this month, Sacramento Regional Transit began a safety and awareness campaign aimed at pedestrians but also focusing on bicyclists and drivers. The title of the campaign is: “See Tracks? Think Train!” It aims to call attention to the many grade-level crossings in Sacramento where light-rail train tracks intersect with streets and sidewalks.

If your daily commute puts you in contact with a rail line (and most commuters do), please be sure to follow some basic safety rules. They include looking both ways before crossing a track, obeying crossing arm gates and signals and finishing across quickly with no stopping in the middle. A little common sense and focused attention could very well save your life.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, “Sacramento agency: Too many distracted pedestrians hit by trains,” Tony Bizjak, March 18, 2015

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