A man posted on Reddit this morning about his harrowing experience of being struck by a MAX train. He said it happened at a station somewhere near the northeast Portland/Gresham border and that his use of headphones directly contributed to the collision. Here’s “fehu’s” post:
I was on my way to work, and got off at my stop in Northeast Portland/Gresham. I had my headphones in like a dumb ass, and went to cross the intersection before my train had left.
I mounted my bike, like I do every day, and went to cross the intersection. When I noticed the train, it was about 20 feet away, and my body was dead in the center of the tracks. I turned a sharp left, because I knew I couldn’t push past it in time. My front wheel got caught in the track. I unclipped from my pedal, put my foot down, and pushed myself and the bike about six inches back.
At that moment, the left front corner of the train hit my ass, shoulder, and back wheel. It threw me from the cross walk to the center of the intersection. I landed on my ass, which is rather sore. But I’m fine. Emergency personnel and TriMet authorities responded immediately, and told me I was very, very lucky. Reports were filed, and as I have no injury aside from a bruised ass, I went home for the day.
NEVER. Never fucking ever. Wear headphones while crossing a MAX intersection.
I almost lost my life today out of complacence.
TriMet public information officer Roberta Altstadt replied to “fehu” on Reddit to say, “We at TriMet are also happy you were not seriously hurt and appreciate your safety message for others. It is extremely valuable for others to hear a first-hand account.”
Another TriMet spokesperson, Mary Fetsch, said they’ve tried to contact fehu in hopes he will share his story with the local media. Being attentive around MAX trains — and especially not wearing headphones — is a major concern for the agency and has been a subject of their safety marketing for years.
As for fehu, he knows how lucky he is and he also knows what a huge mistake he made. “The police asked the value of the damage to my bike so I could make a claim with TriMet to get it fixed,” he wrote in the Reddit thread, “I declined and told them that It was my fault and that I’m happy to be walking away with a broken bike and a life.”