300px-Green_line_Trax_at_Gallivan_Plaza (2)In the media we usually hear about the constant conflicts between cyclists and vehicles; whether it be hit and run accidents, aggressive cars, or lack of observation on behalf of both parties. It is easy for cyclists and drivers alike to review safety procedures around each other and remind themselves to double check for everything they are told to check.  Cars however, are not the only obstacles that can cause injury or harm to cyclists.  Other forms of transportation around the city can also be dangerous such as mass transit.  In Utah mass transit includes buses, Trax, and Frontrunner lines.

Buses can be particularly scary to cyclists due to the shear size and girth of the vehicle.  With any amount of speed they can seriously injure any party, especially when it only takes one cyclist in one blind spot for a tragedy to occur.   Additionally, more and more buses are out and about on Utah’s roadways.  UTA’s statistics show that local transit buses reached almost 650 workable vehicle’s providing nearly 22 million trips. Buses can also be more dangerous as they make more stops than regular cars.  In fact, a typical bus route contains thirty plus stops and runs almost twenty-four seven. This means that on average, buses slow and speed up faster than an average car would, creating more of a potential risk than regular cars.  With so many characteristics to be aware of, cyclists must be just as weary of buses as they are of cars.

Trains are another form of mass transit cyclists should be aware of.  Utah’s local trains, TRAX run through the city and can be particularly embedded in roadways.  For those unfamiliar with TRAX, TRAX is similiar to trolley’s with local stations that passengers can hop on and off.  Frontrunner, runs on the outside of the cities and goes faster, covers a greater distance, and makes less stops, similar to a train. Both of these transits are under mandate to have all of their signalling up to date and working. Signals are usually provided in multiple forms such as at rails at crossings, painted lines, bells that ring, and stationed off sections to keep riders safe. Signals such as these are in place to provide and help all who encounter such signs know of their what to look for when they hear or see these signals. Earlier this year, a cyclist was killed after failing to yield to oncoming trains.  The cyclist apparently saw one train but did not see the other until it struck him.  Unfortunately this lack of observation ended in the worst possible scenario with his passing.

The best way to prevent injuries from mass transit is to constantly be aware, especially because there won’t always be sharrow signs.
Mass transit is popping up more and more in suburbs as gas prices rise.  The more you become aware of, not just automobiles, but mass transit as well, the safer you will be.  If there are signals of any kind, take the extra time to evaluate them and make sure you are safe to proceed.  Relying on signals is never enough to replace common sense or other reactions you experience.  It is always important to rely on a plethora of information to make informed decisions.

If you have been in a cycling accident due to another party, please do not hesitate to contact us at Christensen and Hymas for a free consultation.  These consultations are confidential and seek to give you the information you may need concerning your injury or your case to make an educated decision.  Feel free to give us a call at 801-506-0800.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia