TriMet urges awareness during first ever US Rail Safety Week

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We love our technology. But sometimes those tweets, likes and updates can be distracting. Whether caught up in your phone, hunkered down under an umbrella or just feeling impatient, safety takes just a few seconds. As part of the first ever U.S. Rail Safety Week, launched by Operation Lifesaver, TriMet reminds you to pause those distractions, follow signals and take a moment to be alert and aware when walking, biking and driving across train tracks.

Increase awareness

Our MAX, WES and bus operators are always on high alert for people wandering into their path, trying to beat the train or crossing against signals. They need your help too. These simple reminders help keep everyone safe:

Pedestrians

  • Take a moment when crossing tracks. Pause your devices, take out an earbud and look and listen for oncoming trains. Make sure umbrellas, hoodies or other clothing doesn’t block your view. And, when a train passes, always be alert for a second train to possibly be coming from the opposite direction.

Bicyclists

  • Slow or stop at all rail crossings. Look both ways for trains and proceed when clear. Never try to beat the train. And, remember train tracks can be slippery. Get more tips at trimet.org.

Drivers

  • Stop at Red lights and stop signs. Obey no turn signs. Heed rail crossing warnings. And, never drive around gate arms.

Be seen and be safe

Fall is here. That means it’s getting dark earlier at night and staying dark later in the morning. This, combined with dark clothing, can make it difficult for drivers and operators to see you so make sure to stand out. When walking or biking, wear bright coats or accessories such as hats, scarves, backpacks and more to make it easier to see you. The same goes for using reflective items like vests, tapes or stickers. Also, don’t forget the lights. Small wearable lights are great ways to see and be seen. Wear the gear, remain alert and stay safe when you head out for your darker commute.

Designed for everyone’s safety

Our rail crossings are designed to help you be aware and safe when approaching tracks at intersections and stations. Traffic signals, gate arms, flashing lights, audible warnings and signs alert drivers and pedestrians at intersections and street crossings. On sidewalks and pedestrian crossings, signs, flashing signals and audible warnings, tactile strips and fencing at most pedestrian crossings aim to increase awareness.

Distractions can wait

Remember, 60+ ton trains can’t swerve and can’t stop on a dime. In fact, a MAX train traveling at full speed can take about 1/5 of a mile to stop. Even at slower speeds, such as 15 mph, it can take a MAX train about 100 feet to stop. And a WES train can take up to a quarter mile – the length of nearly four and a half football fields – to stop. The great thing about those tweets, songs, funny cat videos and conversations? It takes just a moment to pause them.