Florida Train Accidents on the Rise

A SunRail commuter train in Winter Park outside of Orlando recently hit a bicyclist, injuring him in the process.  According to an Orlando Sentinel article regarding the incident, the bicyclist, who was reported to be male and in his 60’s, was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment for his injuries.  None of the passengers or crew aboard the train were reported injured as a result of the incident.  Train service was shut down for several hours so that police could complete their investigation.  Train service was then re-opened approximately three hours later.  This latest accident was part of a disturbing trend that is starting to occur with greater regularity in both central as well as south Florida, where trains are becoming increasingly common as a means to ease the increasing congestion on the roads.  Although more trains may solve the problem of traffic congestion by ensuring there are fewer cars on the roads, they also can create additional problems like that exemplified by this recent accident in Winter Park: an increase in accidents between bicyclists and pedestrians, and even motor vehicles and trains.

The High Rate of Collisions Between Cars, Bicycles, Pedestrians and Trains in Florida

Although this latest accident took place in Orlando, collisions between motor vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians are becoming an issue of greater concern in south as well as central Florida given the recent addition of Brightline commuter rail service in the area as an alternative to congestion on the roads.  Trains are a particular danger in South Florida because several studies have shown that southern Florida is one of the most congested rail corridors in the United States.  Therefore, the chances of an injury occurring between a train and a pedestrian, bicyclist or motorist, whether it is a Brightline or SunRail commuter train or Florida East Coast or CSX freight train, are much greater in South Florida than in other parts of the country.

This will become increasingly the case as ridership aboard commuter trains like SunRail in Orlando or Brightline in South Florida continues to grow.  According to a recent report from Brightline, the company’s passenger count had increased 42 percent in the second quarter of 2018 as compared with the first quarter of 2018.  This increase in ridership likely will only continue as Brightline adds stations in Stuart and Fort Pierce as part of its eventual plans to build a high-speed rail link between Miami and Orlando.  The downside to this reduction in traffic, as people increasingly take trains, is that more accidents will occur, like the crash between a Brightline train and a motor vehicle in Hallandale Beach in September.  Thankfully, the driver of the vehicle that was involved in that accident was able to get out of her vehicle in time to avoid the train, which crushed her car.  However, one of the emergency personnel who responded to that accident highlighted the danger posed by commuter trains when he noted that “We do see the trains coming at much greater speeds than what the trains used to come through at, and that’s what, I think, catches drivers off guard, because the trains are very quiet and they come through very fast.”  This is part of the problem: commuter trains are bearing down on motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists at much higher speeds and with much less notice than Floridians are used to.  This increases the chances of someone thinking they can beat a train and ending up injured or dead as a result.

Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Schwed Adams & McGinley

Motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists in Florida can be injured by trains for any number of reasons, including if the train’s employees are not paying attention in one of the nation’s most crowded areas.  As described above, accidents like the recent collision between a train in Winter Park and a bicyclist are only more likely to increase as commuter trains become more common throughout Florida, particularly in South Florida.  If you are a pedestrian, bicyclist or motorist who has been injured in an accident with a train in Florida, contact the experienced lawyers of Schwed Adams & McGinley, P.A. Our firm has extensive experience in representing personal injury victims, including bicyclists, motorists and pedestrians who were injured in a collision with a train. Call us toll free at 877.694.6079 or email us today at contact@schwedlawfirm.com to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer regarding your situation.