Commuters at a train station were met by a horrifying sight earlier today. A train pulled into a station with the dead body of a struck cyclist pinned to the front. Apparently the cyclist had been hit some 25 miles away at a crossing station, and the driver of the train hadn't seen or heard the impact at all. It sounds incredible, but this was a high-speed train that may have been traveling up to 200 miles per hour.
The traumatic event happened in France, where high-speed trains are commonly used. Investigators aren't sure how exactly the accident happened. Regardless, it's a terrible tragedy.
A spokesman for the train company says accidents like this are rare, but that the cyclist was struck and pinned in a blind spot for the driver. "The kinetic energy of a train is so great that a shunt could go unnoticed," the spokesman said. "If there isn’t any debris left on the sides upon impact, you wouldn’t be aware of it."
Accident or not, this is another warning of how dangerous bike riding can be if you're not paying close attention. As a cyclist myself, I know how intoxicating it can feel to speed along a road. I imagine, if you have headphones on, it would be very easy to tune out your environment. Here in the U.S., we usually have crossing barriers that go down in front of the rails when a train is coming -- but accidents still happen. People take risks, sometimes, thinking they can beat an oncoming train, only to get struck. It's always best to err on the side of caution.
Do you feel safe riding your bike near trains or traffic?
Image via 101 Holidays