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Via Reddit, man shares account of being hit by MAX train

Posted by on September 18th, 2013 at 2:05 pm

TriMet released this image of the man who was hit and
the operator who came to his aid.

A man posted on Reddit this morning about his harrowing experience of being struck by a MAX train. He said it happened at a station somewhere near the northeast Portland/Gresham border and that his use of headphones directly contributed to the collision. Here’s “fehu’s” post:

I was on my way to work, and got off at my stop in Northeast Portland/Gresham. I had my headphones in like a dumb ass, and went to cross the intersection before my train had left.

I mounted my bike, like I do every day, and went to cross the intersection. When I noticed the train, it was about 20 feet away, and my body was dead in the center of the tracks. I turned a sharp left, because I knew I couldn’t push past it in time. My front wheel got caught in the track. I unclipped from my pedal, put my foot down, and pushed myself and the bike about six inches back.

At that moment, the left front corner of the train hit my ass, shoulder, and back wheel. It threw me from the cross walk to the center of the intersection. I landed on my ass, which is rather sore. But I’m fine. Emergency personnel and TriMet authorities responded immediately, and told me I was very, very lucky. Reports were filed, and as I have no injury aside from a bruised ass, I went home for the day.

NEVER. Never fucking ever. Wear headphones while crossing a MAX intersection.

I almost lost my life today out of complacence.

TriMet public information officer Roberta Altstadt replied to “fehu” on Reddit to say, “We at TriMet are also happy you were not seriously hurt and appreciate your safety message for others. It is extremely valuable for others to hear a first-hand account.”

Another TriMet spokesperson, Mary Fetsch, said they’ve tried to contact fehu in hopes he will share his story with the local media. Being attentive around MAX trains — and especially not wearing headphones — is a major concern for the agency and has been a subject of their safety marketing for years.

As for fehu, he knows how lucky he is and he also knows what a huge mistake he made. “The police asked the value of the damage to my bike so I could make a claim with TriMet to get it fixed,” he wrote in the Reddit thread, “I declined and told them that It was my fault and that I’m happy to be walking away with a broken bike and a life.”

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Anne Hawley
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Anne Hawley

I saw your first tweet about the Reddit post and flinched away, fearing the worst sort of story. I am SO glad this guy came off relatively unscathed! Lucky indeed.

The old “Stop-Look-Listen” message about railroad tracks got hammered into my head as a kid, and it seems like it’s still pretty applicable.

Nathan Broom
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Nathan Broom

Nothing wrong with promoting the “head-up/safety” message in the local media, but I’d be more excited about promoting the “no need to file a claim–it was my fault” message worldwide. Thanks for having the strength to say that, fehu!

dan
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dan

I appreciate fehu’s taking responsibility for the collision by declining to file a damage claim. Refreshing in this day and age to see someone stepping up and taking responsibility.

Spiffy
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until they make it a crime to be deaf in public I wish people would stop complaining about headphone users…

Noel
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Noel

Isn’t there also sign that you cannot ride your bike near max station? My buddy got a ticket because of it.

dwainedibbly
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dwainedibbly

Is this real? TriMet is usually pretty good about tweeting & emailing about incidents and I didn’t see anything at all from them about this. My BS detector is warming up.

That said, be careful out there, people!

Jolly Dodger
Guest

Just for the record…Spiffy…”until they make it a crime to be deaf in public I wish people would stop complaining about headphone users..” – it is a crime to wear headphones while operating a vehicle…ANY VEHICLE…& yes by O.R.S. standard, a bicycle MUST obey all motor vehicle laws…because we we fought and were given the same rights and responsibilities as any motorized vehicle on the roadways. If a “driver” is wearing headphones (or using a cell phone, texting, etc.) and is unaware, oblivious or just disregarding other roadway users and hits and kills someone, who amongst us wouldn’t be pissed? If a cyclist wearing headphones hits and maims/kills a kid, you can bet your bottom dollar we are all going to have to have liability insurance just to ride bikes. Glad he’s alive. Wear ’em if you want…but if i call “car back” & you don’t hear me…well, it’s all on you. Music is not as important as safety. (period)

Adam
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Adam

I have totally fallen off my bike near MAX tracks. Granted, I had just gotten my bike off the train, hopped on it, and started pedaling away from the station. I saw a water fountain directly in front of me, and in the split second it took for my brain to decide whether to turn the handlebars left or right, I fell off my bike still clipped to the pedals. I know the MAX driver saw me fall. It probably made his day! (They all seem to dislike bikes, or is that just me?!)

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

I’m all for personal responsibility, but MAX trains have killed WAY more pedestrians (well into the double digits) than seems reasonable in the years I’ve lived here. I know that in almost every case it was the pedestrian’s “fault”, but still ..

It is incredible that many pedestrian crossings of MAX tracks have absolutely no visual indications to warn of oncoming trains. I can understand no crossing gates coming down as they have in Japan, because of the risk of trapping a handicapped person on the wrong side. But c’mon, no flashing lights? Cars get them. Why not pedestrians?

I especially see a lot of close calls at Beaverton TC, with three sets of tracks, all of which can carry active trains at the same time, and where you must cross tracks to enter and leave the station in any direction. No flashing lights or any other indications of which track has an about-to-be-moving train, and it’s not always obvious which one is about to pull out.

Skid
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Skid

I like that he acknowledges his carelessness and doesn’t whine about getting his wheel caught in the MAX track. It’s like he expects to be responsible for his actions and to have a minimum level of skill when operating a bicycle.