Sunday, August 22, 2010

A cyclist who should have thought a little more

A confluence of wrongs led up to this incident.
A bicyclist is recovering after he rode around railroad crossing arms on the East Side and crashed into a train Friday night.

Levi Smith, 47, reportedly had been drinking around 11:15 p.m., when he maneuvered around the closed crossing in the 400 block of Burnet Street, just east of U.S. 281, San Antonio police said.

An incident report states Smith was riding the wrong way on Burnet Street and wasn't wearing a helmet when he crashed into the eastbound Union Pacific train.

(from the Express-News)

Bonus strangeness:
Raquel Espinoza-Williams, a spokeswoman for the railroad, said a snow plow in the front of the locomotive struck Smith. The impact caused him to be flung off the tracks, which may have saved his life, she said. [emphasis added]
A snowplow? In the summer? In Texas? Any train enthusiasts out there know if it is standard practice or not for the railroads to leave plows on locomotives throughout the year? If so, Mr. Smith sure is lucky that piece of equipment was in place.


Dave said...

Snow plows are excellent for clearing vagrants, hobos, and as it turns out, drunk bike enthusiasts. Who needs snow when there are so many other targets?

AlanDP said...

Maybe that's what they're calling the cow catcher these days.

Albatross said...

Yeah, I think you're right, Alan. Especially given that such equipment -- at least what I can glean from these images -- is not something that would be hauled out unless there was a compelling need for it.

I'm thinking it was a plain ole cow catcher.

AlanDP said...

Somebody probably decided the old term wasn't politically correct anymore.

Bob S. said...

I would hazard a guess that it was on there in preparation of winter scheduling.

Was probably on a south bound train last winter and is being moved back up north in preparation of an unseasonal drunken cyclist storm or something

Keith Alan K said...

The big railroads like UP and BNSF run all over, from the north to the south borders.
The locomotives might end up anywhere, so a certain percentage wear plows year round so they can lead trains in the north during the winter. They are too big and heavy to take off and store in the summer, plus then the loco would have to return to wherever it left it's plow which complicates dispatching (locomotives aren't exactly standardized, especially after a few years of damage and repairs).
You don't really notice them unless you're looking for 'em.
If you want to see something cool, look for videos of their snow blowers.