When I was taught to drive a car by my father a long time ago – one thing he told me was to stop when I approached a railroad crossing and to look both ways. Don’t trust a gate or flashing light to protect your life – they might be out of order after all.
From time to time we hear about someone killed or injured in their car at a railroad crossing. I’m sorry if this seems cold hearted but I just can’t feel any sympathy for someone stupid enough to cross a train track when a train is coming. After all – this is the Darwin Theory in full operation. The truly stupid will take themselves out of the gene pool – given enough time. Trains ALWAYS WIN – and – they are not hard to see or hear. You couldn’t possibly say ‘I didn’t know it was coming’.
Back to driving on Wyoming Avenue.
So around high noon I am about 3 vehicles back at a railroad crossing with the gates down and lights flashing. There may have been bells ringing but it was hot, I had my AC on and listening to music. Then I was SHOCKED to see a QUEEN CITY METRO bus, the first car in the ones ahead of me – GO AROUND THE GATE. While he/she was going around the gate I was hearing the horn of the train blowing!
Of course in the urban areas trains don’t go real fast – but they don’t have to go real fast to hurt you if your vehicle gets stuck in their path. The bus made it across the tracks and there was no collision. I hope there weren’t any passengers on this bus. I did make a telephone call to the Metro’s business office to let them know what I observed. They advised me that there are video cameras on the buses and they would review this video and take appropriate action. I think appropriate action in this case would be canning the driver. Who knows what a person driving a bus that knows they are being video taped might do next time.
And then there is the issue of discipline in our local employers. I read recently that about half of the police officers that have been fired for job related performance problems have been rehired because the city caved in to the unions! Maybe they can hire the bus driver?