A 67 year old man of Keyser, West Virginia was struck and killed by a freight train Wednesday night. The wheels of the disabled man’s scooter became stuck in between the rail and the asphalt at the crossing. Though he struggled to move the scooter, he was unable to get unstuck before an approaching freight train collided with the man and killed him.
The crossing itself is outfitted with a protective gate, though it is unclear how long the man was stuck on the tracks before struck by the train.
This railroad crossing needs to be fixed to accomodate not only cars, but persons who cannot drive a car – the young, the poor who cannot afford a car, some elderly persons, and the disabled. Rail companies are not known for focusing on pedestrian safety – in fact, they’re known to ignore it, calling accidents instances of trespassing and refusing to consider ways of improving safety. This tragedy clearly demonstrates a fundamental flaw with this reasoning: it overlooks the disabled and others who cannot drive.
To make railroad crossings safe, pedestrians absolutely must be included. Tracks with obstructions, bumps, holes, and other natural products of wear and tear must be repaired regularly and promptly. This tragedy – and others like it – demand it.