A biker in downtown Norfolk, Virginia (VA), is fine after running into and scraping the side of a light rail train. According to the Virginian-Pilot, the bike rider was traveling southbound in the pedestrian crossing near the corner of York and Botetourt streets Friday evening. The light-rail train was on a test run, traveling from the York Street station the the Eastern Virginia Medical School station. When the bicyclist tried to pedal past the train, he scraped the side of the HRT Tide train. Authorities likened the incident to a car scraping the side of a shopping cart.
While no injuries were sustained in this incident, it is important to note that the bike rider was wearing headphones during his bike ride. With the light-rail officially opening in Norfolk on August 22, 2011, drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists alike must prepare for a new vehicle to watch out for. Pay attention to signs and remain alert at all times, particularly when traveling through busy downtown sectors. As a Virginia injury lawyer, I’ve seen the devastation that can occur when pedestrians and motorists are involved in crossing accidents with trains. The damage can be extensive.
Federal data show that more than 700 people in the United States die each year in bicycle accidents. This bicyclist is lucky to have escaped injury-free. With more and more people choosing to bike instead of drive cars, be it for environmental or health-related initiatives, there’s a greater chance for accidents. A bill widening the mandatory passing distance between cars and bicycles in Virginia failed to pass this in the 2011 General Assembly session, so accidents may continue to become more common.
Bike accidents are never 100 percent preventable, but there are some ways to reduce your chances of an accident. This may sound like common sense coming from a Virginia injury lawyer, but it bears repeating: Always wear a helmet when biking, and put on a pair of knee and elbow pads to reduce the severity of potential injuries. Also, consider wearing bright colored clothing if riding at night.
About the Editors: The Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.