Last September, Ian Sutherland got hit by a MAX train near Gresham and lived to tell the tale.
It was the route he took to work every day. It was like clockwork. Except that morning.
“I was pre-coffee, running late,” says Ian.
So he took a later train. When his train stopped, he got off, put his headphones on, clipped into his bike and set out across the crosswalk. Only he failed to see that he didn’t have a green signal as he usually did.
“Pay just as much attention around the MAX as if you were crossing a freeway. Or operating heavy machinery. Oh and don’t put on your headphones or mount your bike until you’re well clear of the tracks.”
“The other people at the crosswalk were standing there waiting. And I just kept on moving… on autopilot.”
It wasn’t until he was in the crosswalk that he saw the other train. The one that was speeding towards him only 20 feet away.
At that point Ian had two choices: either go for it and ride the bike as quickly across the tracks as possible, or turn back.
He chose to turn back by making a sharp left turn only to get his back tire stuck in the tracks. He unclipped from his pedals just as the train caught up with his backside and his back tire.
He was thrown many feet through the air but landed well.
He blames the accident on his “complacency.” Asked what he would tell his little sister about riding MAX, Ian chose his words carefully:
“Pay just as much attention around the MAX as if you were crossing a freeway or operating heavy machinery,” he says. “Oh, and don’t put on your headphones or mount your bike until you’re well clear of the tracks.”
That’s really good advice… Ian narrowly escaped a serious accident.
As a result of this incident, he has graciously agreed to be a model for our “Be Alert” safety campaign. We’re glad you’re OK, Ian!