Fatalistic about Fatalities

Fatalistic about Fatalities by David Whelan Another pedestrian fatality on the GO Train today. I believe that is 4 humans and the front end of a blue pickup truck since I started taking the train nearly 2 and a half years ago. I like to think I was taken aback about the first one – and the ensuing 2-3 hours we all sat on the train waiting to be put on buses to get to work or for the train to move. But my first reaction today was frustration at the train being delayed. It wasn’t our train that hit the pedestrian, we just had the after effects since the line was closed. It staggers the imagination that people can still be killed by trains.

For one thing, the train has to move on its track.  It is not suddenly leaping the track and wiping out a bunch of bystanders like a car or truck might.  That for me is the biggest question:  how on earth can you choose to put yourself on a train track?

Now, you might say, a train can sneak up on you.  That might be true in some places, but the GO Train blasts a horn, has a little ringing bell coming in to stations, and you can tell that the train is coming because the track shakes.  Literally.  I was standing at a park by the tracks waiting for a bunch of Cub Scouts to show up and the last train approached.  You could see a vibration and hear the tracks before you could even see the train.

So let’s assume there are people who cannot see, or hear, or sense that a train is coming AND they do not have the sense to stay off the train tracks.  What are they thinking?  The fatalities are not happening in urban areas.  This is a northern train, going through what was up until 10 years ago largely farm land.  There are large clear spaces to see a train approaching, and you can often hear the train horn from miles away.

There is no joy in someone’s death but it boggles the mind that people in North America can find their deaths on a train track in the middle of the day.  How safe do you have to make a transit system so that the really stupid cannot be killed by it?

Document Actions
David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.