Perry Lee Scott, 52, of Riverside, was struck down and killed by an eastbound Metrolink train when he crossed the tracks on his bicycle in Riverside, according to an article in the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
Riverside Police Sgt. Dan Hoxmeier said in an earlier article that Scott was crossing the track at the Magnolia Avenue crossing near Merrill Avenue. An eyewitness told Hoxmeier that he saw Scott on the track and the train hitting him an instant later.
My deepest condolences to Scott’s family and friends. This Riverside bicycle accident doesn’t make sense. What the heck could have happened that Scott did not see the train coming.
Going by this article, this crossing has a warning light, but it is not clear whether it was working. There doesn’t appear to be a crossing arm. Based on eyewitness reports, it appears that Mr. Scott did not have much of a warning before crossing at the tracks and it caught him off guard.
There were 15 fatal bicycle accidents in Riverside County in 2006, according to California Highway Patrol statistics. It doesn’t appear that any of them involved trains. Of all the train accidents and bicycle accident cases we have done, I don’t remember a single one that involved a train and a bicycle rider.
Federal regulations and many statutes assign the responsibility of railway crossing safety with local government entities and not railroad companies. However, railroads have a common law duty to ensure sufficient warnings are provided at railroad crossings.
The Scott family will be well-advised to consult top personal injury attorneys in Riverside County qualified in railroad accident cases to review the facts and advise them of their options. It is extremely challenging to hold a railroad responsible for an accident like this one. Usually, if there is anyone legally at fault besides the victim, it will be the local municipality or county.